i decided to take the day off today to work on my national boards. i have been slowly writing and trying to put some things together but now is the time to really get to work on it. the portfolio has to be postmarked by march 31st. i have been working on entry 4 and entry 1 today. for my area of certification, high school social studies (or as it is known in national board speak- adolescent and young adult social studies-history), these two entries are about professional accomplishments and writing to learn in the classroom.
professional accomplishments entails all the things that i do and have done to improve student learning in my classroom. am i learner, am i a leader, do i share and teach with my peers, etc? the answer to all of these should be, of course, YES. i think a lot of teachers do these kinds of things. national boards just makes you reflect on it and makes you think about the how and why parts of it.
the writing part is a little trickier. i am supposed to use 3 different writing assignments that i have assigned to my students and am supposed to show how i impact the writing of two students across these three assignments. again, not really that difficult. just hard to put it into words. especially hard right now because i forgot to bring home the writing assignments that i am going to talk about.
one thing about national boards. they aren't really that difficult. it is just time consuming. during it i often find myself thinking "what am i supposed to be doing again here?" because they don't really give you examples of any kind to look at. and, candidates aren't supposed to really look at anyone's portfolios that have been through it. all of this leaves you thinking at times, am i on the right track?
but you just keep writing and revising it and showing it to people who have been through the process. they give you some direction and try to help you out. when you are done with the writing you have to meticulously make sure that you have affixed all the correct labels and such and provided the correct cover sheets and all that jazz.
once i send in the portfolio i will have a month or so to prepare for the written assessment part of the process which will occur at a testing center in may. and then i get to wait until november to see if i pass. if all of that works out, i'll get a 12% pay increase once i am certified. that is assuming the current economic crisis doesn't eliminate that pay.
if i don't pass, i get to rework the things that i did poorly on and i get to try again. and wait again. until the following november.
whew, that sounds like a lot more work and a lot more waiting. i had better get back to writing something for national boards.