A Badge of Honor

March 6, 2019

After signing on at 5 AM on the National Board Score release day in November 2013 and seeing the words, “Congratulations! You are a National Board Certified Teacher!” I remember feeling the excitement, a sense of relief, and nervous for my friends who went through the process with me who would also be signing on bright and early that morning.

Being a self-proclaimed data nerd, I couldn’t wait to delve into my detailed score report to see how I did on the different components. Through the course of working towards becoming certified, you pour your heart and soul into each entry which makes it hard to read comments and feedback from your score report; however, it can also be rewarding when you see how well you did, too.

Adding those four letters, NBCT, behind my name wasn’t a status symbol for me. It was a badge of honor. I had worked harder than I had ever worked before in order to earn that title. I hadn’t done it for me, but I had done it for my students. I always tell my class, “Never become complacent.” I was practicing what I preached as I wrote and rewrote my entries, watched my videos and identified areas of strength and areas for improvement in relation to the five core propositions.

Watching videos of yourself teaching can feel awkward. I can specifically remember watching my recording for my reading component. I noticed in the video that in the small group that I was working with, I dominated most of the conversation and my questioning techniques were in need of some work. Even though I had already written a majority of the paper, I thought about redoing the entire thing because I thought it had to be perfect. Then, I remembered what this process is all about: reflection. I took that lesson’s video to heart, reflected on it in my entry and walked away from it a better teacher because, at that moment, I changed how I worked with small groups of students.

One of my colleagues, Ashley Ritchie, is currently going through the recertification process this year. I love getting to watch her brainstorm ideas, video her lessons and reflect after each one. Ashley would be the first to tell you that this process is still hard the second time around, but she and I have also talked about how rejuvenating it is to get reunited with the Five Core Propositions.

This journey is not for the faint-hearted. It is tough. It is trying. But it is worth it. You are #NBCTstrong.

Amanda Klare, NBCT

Amanda Klare is a National Board Certified fourth-grade teacher at Beechwood Elementary School in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. She is a Kentucky Hope Street Group fellow for the 2017-2018 school year and serves as a co-director of the Northern Kentucky Writing Project. This year she has started a teacher voice column called “Voices from the Classroom”; this online publication in the Northern Kentucky Tribune has allowed over twenty teachers to be published and share great things going on in their schools.