My original plan was that I would finish my Master's and then relish the quiet life of not having any projects due or papers to write. I was going to take one year off to actually teach (imagine that) and then go for my National Board Certification. For those of you non-teachers being a Nationally Board Certified Teacher is a huge accomplishment. You have to teach for three years before you can even apply and then it is a 8 month journey of writing papers, videotaping, computer assessments, and completing a teaching portfolio. The certification is given from The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and is based on five core principals:
1) Teachers are committed to students and their learning
2) Teachers know the subjects they teach and how they teach the subject to their students
3) Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning
4) Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience
5) Teachers are members of learning communities.
Becoming a NBCT has always been one of my goals, but now I am faced with a decision...should I do it now or wait a bit? While I was originally going to take the year off, Dave and my friends think I should just go ahead and do it this year while everything from my Master's is still fresh in my head. It is a lot of work with planning, teaching, writing documents of accomplishments, preparing for content assessments, but it is pretty much all done on my own time. Since I have been in school forever, I am already accustomed to juggling everything and keeping myself organized with what must be completed, when, so I don't think the work load will necessarily be that difficult to manage. My biggest concern is that I am not a "good enough" teacher because of lack of experience to effectively demonstrate how my teaching meets the 5 principals. As part of the program you must pick a mentor who is a NBCT and then they will help guide you throughout the process. I asked one of my friends (who is also my co-worker with her doctorate's and somebody I truly admire) to be my mentor and asked her if she honestly thought I could do it now. She thinks that along with the fact that everything is fresh, that I should do it now before the kids get involved in their after school activities and our schedule gets even more hectic. The other factor that I am considering is that it costs over $2500 which Dave said won't be a problem, but I hate going into more debt for my education. On the flip side though, if I pass and become NBCT then I will receive a 12% raise on top of my new step with my Master's so it wouldn't take long to pay it off. Decisions, decisions...what do you all think??? Should I just keep moving and get it all done or take a few minutes to breathe??