Jen Robinson Current Affairs, Education, Professional Development, Teacher Leadership

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National Board score release is a week away…

I remember this time being filled with anxiety and self-doubt, wondering how I would respond when I opened my score report. I had heard somewhere that scores would be released according to the eastern time zone. I didn’t even try going to bed before checking and checking and checking again. Nothing was posted.  I sat alone at the kitchen table wondering what would happen once I clicked the link.

Unfortunately for me the link didn’t open until I arrived at school. I went to my room and sat at my computer, feeling very alone and vulnerable. I was scared, emotional and hopeful. I clicked the score report and I learned I did not achieve. Honestly, I felt a little relieved and a lot disappointed. I felt like I had let my colleagues and scholars down, I had failed them.

I knew I tried my best and I had grown as a teacher, but I wasn’t there, yet. I remember navigating through my teaching that day, realizing what I do every day is bigger and more important than any one report. My kindergarteners didn’t know how significant that day was for me, or how I will always remember each and every one of them. That day it didn’t matter if I was a board certified teacher or not, they needed their teacher. They needed me to set boundaries, ask questions, give hugs, wipe tears, teach reading, sing out of tune and be fully present in their lives.

When I got home I went straight to my NB box and pulled out entry two. As I reread it, I realized the weight of NB certification and the integrity of the process. My writing did not provide clear or consistent evidence of the NB standards, the impact of my teaching or of scholar learning. After reflecting, I realized how thankful I was that I did not achieve. Yes, I said that out loud and mean it. The quality of the work I submitted was less than adequate, giving me an opportunity to continue my process of accomplished teaching. This “set back” opened me up to deeper reflection on my practice and of scholar learning and growth. As I continued the process, I was able to clearly articulate the National Board standards in my practice and identify gaps and impact on scholar learning, question my colleagues and push on thinking in ways that showcased their strengths. I began to see myself as a teacher leader and step into leadership roles on my campus, advocating for my scholars, advocate for teaching and learning. I began to see scholar data in ways that informed my instruction and allowed me to reflect on my effectiveness as a teacher.

Since becoming board certified, I have stepped out of the classroom. I re-certified by borrowing a colleague’s class. This was daunting and amazing all at the same time. I lead a K-5 campus filled with teacher leaders who push themselves to be the very best every day. They see genius and potential in all of our scholars.

What will you do with when you become board certified?


Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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Comments 6

  1. Beth Maloney

    I love this reflection, Jen! I just ran into a former candidate who has moved districts since I was her CSP. She is awaiting her C4 results now. I was thrilled to tell her that her wait is almost over!

  2. Leah Clark

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with NBCT. I am anxiously awaiting the scores for two components I submitted last May. My fingers are crossed, but I also know I grew more last year during this process than any other time during my teaching career. I hope I feel confident about my scores, but if I must resubmit I know the growing and learning will continue.

    1. Jen Robinson

      Hi Leah
      Thanks for sharing your story – waiting is hard. But it is also realizing your growth as a teacher – congratulations on your journey of accomplished teaching.

  3. Jaime Festa-Daigle

    Thank you for sharing, the process has taught me that I will always be a teacher and I will always continue to learn to be better.

  4. Susan Collins

    Great reflection on the NB process and the VALUE of not achieving on the first attempt! I was an advanced candidate, and learned so much through the extension of the process. I needed to live with the standards and let them become engrained in my everyday teaching process. By the time I submitted my last retake component, I was content with the growth and direction I had received through the process. I knew that I had finally gained what I was searching for: a reconnection with my WHY!

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