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NATIONAL BOARD FOR PROFESSIONAL TEACHING STANDARDS

National Board Certified Teacher Elementary and Middle Childhood Art

NBPTS.ORG




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You Ask Me Why Get National Board Certified?

By Laura King, NBCT

You ask me why
Why should I get National Board Certified?
I can not tell you why…
I can only tell you why I did
And what it did for me
You see…
I’m a teacher 24/7, 12 months out of 12, 365.25 days a year,
Even during those mythical vacations, dear,
When, yes, I may be home or traveling a bit,
Reviving my batteries that need reviving
Desperately,
But I read something or see something or do something, and
It’s like when the cook Emeril says “BAM!”
I’m wearing that teacher hat again, thinking about kids and how
This or that would affect them, inspire them, turn them on or off
To learning and to life, and well,
It’s the way I walk and talk and breathe…
Yeah, it’s a career, some people think, and I think this is true…
But a teacher is me and a teacher is you…
And your average Joe doesn’t begin to know what we do…
Nothing 9 to 5 about this life
And there are no power lunches or promotions with corner offices,
No company cars or corporate ladders leading
Who knows where--
But a career of the heart and head
That rewards you instead
With tousle haired hopes
And big eye dreams
Sitting criss cross applesauce on the rug
Right there in front of you.
And then, you hit this place, one of those halfway
Between here and there when you don’t quite know where
You are going…and you say this is my career
I know it, but do I know what I’m doing?
And am I really making a difference…
And people around you sincerely reassure you
“You’re doing great!” “You’re fine,”
And you know you basically are,
But the answers you are looking for are deep inside you
Somewhere,
A personal validation that what you do
Is worthwhile and has meaning.
So…
You open yourself up really WIDE--
You decide you’re ready for a wild ride,
And you say “YES, I’ll become National Board Certified--
I will do this thing that I don’t have to do,
I will do this thing that will absorb me, undo me, confound and confuse me
For three years of my teaching life.”
And it begins…
You read and you write through the day and the night
As you teach and you think about what you can write,
Then you videotape and watch yourself teach while you write and
Take notes on the standards you reach, then you teach
And you write through the day and the night
Then do it all over again
Getting it right
While you teach and catch sight
Of what’s wrong and what’s right…
And then you Xerox for days and you box it all up and
you wait and you wait and you wait…
Then--
you take a three hour test and after that’s done you
Wait and wait and wait
As if IT were the fish and YOU were the bait
Then--
After six months they arrive, the results, your scores,
You’d almost forgotten them, but not really of course…
They’ll appear on the screen with one click of the mouse,
Condensed to a three digit number, above or below,
And you think, this is it, in this next moment you’ll know…
And right before clicking, what’s true becomes clear--
The score itself means little, now that it’s so near
The answer you sought was in the process of learning,
More about you own teaching, your strengths and your yearnings
To make teachable moments count the best that they can
For all those tousle haired big eyed kids, so there I am…
Just standing there, holding a computer mouse in my hand…
One click away
From my scores--
Knowing that if the scores were too low, I’d just try again
Because that’s what I teach kids--
To keep at it, you’re always doing okay if you keep at it,
Being open to trying new things, getting better at them…
That’s just what a learner does,
And that’s what a teacher does
Too.
You ask me why
Why should I get National Board Certified?
I can not tell you why…
I can only tell you why I did
And what it did for me.