Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reflections about the National Boards Process

I believe I have mentioned this before on the blog but just as a refresher, I have been working on getting my national boards certification over this past school year. It has been an exhausting process, to put it mildly.
my special message on the back of my box....sent this morning

So, while it is still freshly, traumatically engraved in my brain, I wanted to write down my thoughts on this process.

Why did I do this?
One reason I completed this process was in an attempt to get a bonus given by the state of Washington to National Board certified teachers. It is a nice bonus, for a teacher, but halfway through the process the legislature proposed cutting it. It hasn't happened for sure, but most likely will. I also did this because I really do want to be a better teacher and other teachers at my school that had completed the process talked about how this was a great learning tool for them.

What is involved?
There are many different iterations of this, but in my version (Social Studies for Young Adults), there were four entries.
  • Entry 1 was an analysis of student work, and my ability to teach social studies writing
  • Entry 2 was a video of a whole-class lesson and demonstrated my ability to teach civic competence
  • Entry 3 was a video of a small-group lesson and demonstrated my ability to teach social understanding and civic competence
  • Entry 4 is a compilation of work that demonstrates my work as a leader or learner, a community partner, and as a collaborator.
I ended up writing about almost 19,000 words on 56 pages and collecting around 50 pages of documentation between all four accomplishments.

How do I feel?
I'm exhausted. My brain races all the time. I have nightmares. I've been going to bed around 11 and waking up between 2:30 and 4 am for over a week. I'm so tired that I'm shaking. I've gained weight, then lost most of it over the past week because I passed the point of stress eating and entered the land beyond, where nothing is appealing and I'm too tired to cook. I've had numerous emotional breakdowns both in public and private. My house hasn't been cleaned in months.

It doesn't help that I have also been doing the following this year:
  • senior class advisor, which involves the equivalent of herding 4 ADHD cats in one common direction
  • helping to organize the annual Multicultural Show (which of course, is happening this week), and which also involves the equivalent of herding 150 ADHD performing cats in one common direction
  • pushing my senior advisory class to just do their senior project and presentation already...and did I mention I got a brand-new senior last week?
  • working with the new district mandates (they do love their acronyms!)
  • oh yeah, and teaching as best I can
No personal life, you say? Well, something had to give, and that was the thing that did.

But I'm not done yet. Still to come...
  • Multicultural Week rehearsals are next week and there are 4 shows the week after that. There are three of us running things, but one is very pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy and one is in the midst of helping her Alzheimer's afflicted mother move into a group home, so I am on deck.
  • the next round of standardized testing in April
  • track meets once a week from now until the end of May
  • prom
  • the assessment center test for national boards, where I have 6 multi-part questions to answer about any subject in economics, government, US and world history, and I have only 30 minutes for each test
  • graduation rehearsal and graduation itself, which normally requires no effort on my part but my presence and help has been requested this year
  • not to mention all the usual school stuff - meetings, grading, planning, copying - apart from the actual teaching...
Have I mentioned I'm exhausted?


Pseudo said...

I did the National Boards 7 years ago. It was a tremendous process, and I remember feeling that in many ways it was more intense than my graduate degree (time factor especially).

I bet you are super exhausted....

Summer's down the stretch and around the corner.

carla said...

I wish for you some peaceful sleep! I hope that in the long run this process pays off for you.

The Reflective Educator said...

Phew! I'm tired just reading your post. Thank god SB is on its way.