Fast Forward to Board Certification

October 24, 2017

Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that I was sitting at the computer waiting to hear the news whether or not I had become a National Board Certified Teacher. I remember that moment so vividly and how proud I felt when I saw the word “Congratulations!” appear on the screen. All of the time, effort, videotaping and writing had paid off and I was ready to wear the title NBCT with absolute pride. I wanted everyone to know that I was an NBCT which even prompted me to buy a license plate that read “NBCT ‘09”. Now you may be thinking that is a bit extreme, but for me it was just the beginning.

In 2004, I received my master’s degree and immediately looked into getting my NBCT to receive my Rank 1 in Kentucky. I was excited about what it would mean to be a Nationally Board Certified until I shared my idea with some of my colleagues. My excitement was squashed when I was told not to do it because it would be “too hard.” Unfortunately, I listened to those skeptics. Four years went by before I finally got up the nerve to go for it. In 2009, my goal was accomplished and I was beyond proud of the choice I had made to certify.

Now let’s fast-forward to the year 2017. I’m once again looking at a computer screen but for a very different reason. I’m writing a piece for the National Board’s The Standard after being named the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. I am honored and humbled to have achieved this title and know that the process of becoming an NBCT helped me on my journey. Pursuing my Board-certification was one of the best decisions of my life and it has transformed my teaching – I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today had I not gone through the process.

The process of earning my Board certification was the best professional development I have ever experienced. The planning, teaching, videotaping, reflecting and focus on my own pedagogy made me more intentional and purposeful as a teacher which impacted my students, too. Since becoming an NBCT, I have become more involved as a teacher leader and taken on more roles in and out of my district. I have pushed myself outside of my norm and have been accomplishing my own goals for myself and my students. I now have more of a Growth Mindset that drives me and I want to encourage others to have the same. So with all of this being said, this year is my first opportunity to renew my certification. So what do I do? Do I try to renew my certification this year or not? The answer without a doubt is…yes!

If you have asked yourself the same questions about National Board Certification…Should I certify? Should I renew? I say… yes. First, for those of you thinking of pursuing National Board Certification, don’t allow others to discourage you. It is a thorough and rigorous process that will take time. But, the benefits of being a National Board Certified Teacher are well worth it. The time and effort invested can transform your teaching as you yourself become more reflective about your practice; it could help you become a stronger teacher and help your students succeed even more.

If you are considering renewal, think about why you decided to become an NBCT in the first place. You probably chose to complete the certification process to become a better teacher and to advance your career. Becoming an NBCT helped you accomplish both but so can renewing your certification. Renewal allows NBCTs to reflect back on their professional growth and continue to set more goals for the future.

Now is the time. Go to the National Board’s website and choose to certify or renew. If you still aren’t sure it is the right choice for you, go to the website to find out more information about why to certify and how to get started.

Belinda Furman, NBCT

Belinda Furman is in her 18th year at Grant County Schools. She is the curriculum specialist at Mason-Corinth Elementary School. Last y ear she taught taught at Sherman Elementary as a 2nd-grade teacher and spent her first 16 years at Dry Ridge Elementary. Furman earned her bachelor’s degree from Northern Kentucky University, her master’s degree in instructional leadership from Eastern Kentucky University and achieved her Rank 1 through National Board certification. She is the 2018 Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year.