Feb 21, 2007

all quiet on the western front

Things are calm over here, since I'm expending most of my intellectual energy on educational issues. (So much for a week off.) Not only that, but I'm finally getting the ball rolling on National Board Certification. I'm writing the scholarship and filling out the app I can start in April. I announced I was going to do it about a year ago, but life got in the way. What I wrote:
As a teacher in Washington state, I'm obligated to attain a professional certificate, to take extra courses to prove I'm Genuine 100% Teacherly Goodness. I've decided to attempt National Board Certification. Here are four reasons why.

1. Professional Growth
Quite frankly, I'm not yet a good teacher, not nearly as good as I want to be, not nearly as good as my students deserve. I have several good teacherly qualities--passion, intellect, self-criticism, open-mindedness, personality--but I haven't yet perfected my instruction, assessment, and curricular design. (I have perfected the art of the tacky tie, however.)

2. Economics
Washington still provides a $3500 annual stipend for nationally certified teachers, and scholarships to help defray the $2500 program fee. Since national certification supersedes state requirements, and I have to earn a ProCert anyway, the choice is simple.

3. Time
I've taught for four years, one more than the program requires. Next year is that magical fifth year when all goes well. Chances are, I'll have good classes again, in subjects I've already taught. That sailing's too smooth for this ship. I could stand 200-400 hours of extra writing, videotaping, and agonizing to maintain the chaos of my perilous voyage over the wine-dark sea.

4. Prestige
Step one: national certification. Step two: teacher of the year. Step three: bestselling author status for my memoir, Lord of the Ties. Step five: Oprah confessional. Step six: public scorn upon the revelation that the memoir is only 43% true. Step seven: movie deal.
It's all still true--and, thanks to earlier start times, I'll still begin the process in this very magical fifth year.

I'm really doing this. I'm going down the trail the trp blazed. Yikes.


TeacherRefPoet said...

Write as much of Entry 4 as you can over the summer, or at least plan it.

Videotape EVERYTHING. Check every day to be sure the audio is on.

My plan with the movies worked well, I think. I'd recommend something similar.

Don't plan anything for February and the first half of March. You won't be doing anything then.

Jim Anderson said...

By the last one ("don't plan anything...") do you mean anything outside of working on National Board stuff?

TeacherRefPoet said...

Yeah. It'll pretty well dominate your life for those six weeks. Plan lessons that you've done before and are comfortable with. My wife volunteered to leave for a weekend to go to her folks' place, and that turned into a highly productive weekend. There's always the sense, for me anyway, that I could make those essays a little bit better, so I kept working. Plan on spending a very significant time at Kinko's those last couple of weekends.

Keep in mind my advice is probably not great for entries 1-4...my scores there turned out to be below standard, but I kicked butt on the test, which made me certified by a very, very slim margin. (But hey, it was my first year...it takes the majority people 2 or 3).

Email me anytime, whether it's to bitch (which you'll do a LOT of) or to ask questions.