My journey for National Board Certification was a long one! I felt the sting of disappointment three times. The first two I questioned myself as an educator. Was I in the wrong profession? Was I not an effective teacher? I was following the guidelines down to the letter. Why wasn’t I certifying? Still, I tried again. I knew I could do it. I just had to work a little harder.
Results came on my third attempt, and, yet again, I did not certify. This time I was not only disappointed, but, I was angry. At myself, at National Board, the assessors – anyone involved with the process! I knew that I was an accomplished teacher! I KNEW it! I determined right then that this process would not beat me! I was going for it again and I was going to certify!
I was thrown a couple of curve balls in 2017. The first was after being in Kindergarten for nine years, I was going to be doing RTI the upcoming year! I was a Kindergarten teacher; how in the world was I going to do RTI with students K-5? I shook it off and said it would be okay, and I would do my best at my new position. I was ready for the change.
Then, on August 28, 2018, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma – second curve ball! My decision to attempt certification again had already been made. Could I do it while going through numerous tests, procedures, chemo and radiation? My answer: yes, I can! I was not going to allow anything to stand in my way!
My nurses would get so tickled at me coming in with my binders, books and highlighters. While they were doing their jobs, I was doing mine. When they ask me what I was working on and I told them, they just kind of looked at me funny. Here I was getting chemo and I was working to get better for my students and myself!
When I asked my doctor if I was going to have to take a leave of absence due to treatment, she let me know I could work as long as I felt I could. Thankfully, I was able to work throughout my treatments. On bad days I would pull my standards out and go over them. Again. I always had my nose in something.
I thought about my previous attempts to certification. What did I do? What didn’t I do? I started planning. I planned the whole year out. I knew what order I was doing each component. Then, I dove into the standards! I highlighted, wrote notes, and highlighted some more! I read different resources on high impact instruction. What is it? How do I do it? I researched the context of my components. I took each component one at a time, compared my commentary to the standards and rubric. When it was finished, I did not look at it again!
In the end, the two curve balls I was thrown turned out to be my greatest blessings. Remember how I said I was “just a Kindergarten teacher”? Through this process and the position I was in, I found out I am so much more than that! I am an accomplished teacher. I set my goal and I achieved that goal. It doesn’t matter the attempts I made, it’s that I never gave up. No matter the circumstances!
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