I thought I'd post a response to the questions from this mornings post about completing the National Boards Portfolio.
Essentially, you wondered "What is it?" and "Why go through this rigorous process?"
For a snapshot of the "What", check out this link. The process consists of creating a portfolio from their meticulous guidelines that examines the way you teach and the way you think about teaching.
The science portfolio contains 4 main entries:
Entry One explores how you plan and implement instruction, complete with student work samples. You actually track two students (anonymously) through a series of assignments and projects. Description, analysis, reflection over and over again.
Entry Two explores how you use probing questions to elicit the student's deductive reasoning and other skills needed to conduct scientific investigations. Lots of writing and a 20 minute video demonstrating you and the kids interacting as you introduce a new topic.
Entry Three explores how you lead a class discussion through a scientific inquiry activity. Again you reflect and write, reflect and write, but you also include a 20 minute video of you and your students engaged in inquiry.
Entry Four explores your own accomplishments as a teacher. Again description, analysis, and reflection, not just a listing of all your accolades.
Tons of writing, tons of thinking about how (and perhaps why) you teach. All the while you need to be showing how your teaching meets the National Board standards.
After you mail all this off (by March 31st) you register for your battery of ... five 30 minute tests. That takes place in June-July.
That's the "What".
The "Why" is personal growth and yes, a healthy little raise. In the teaching world, the higher salaries go to the people who don't (and often can't) teach kids. They are the administrators.
Nice folks perhaps, essential jobs perhaps, but many will tell you they could not wait to get out of the classroom.
That's not me. I can teach and I love the classroom. To stay with the kids condemns me to a somewhat stagnant salary schedule ... not bad for a 10 month contract, but not vibrant and growing either.
So here's a big part of the why ... If I become Nationally Certified, I automatically receive a bonus equal to one tenth the average teacher salary in Florida. If I mentor other teachers (ALOT) , they double that. It's about an $8000.00 bonus this year. I'm about to have 2 girls in college so it's hard to ignore that kind of money. In my world, it's a lot.
National Board Certification will allow me to stay in the classroom and substantially increase my salary. I win, the kids win, my family eats. Pretty cool.
I think that covers it.
It was rigorous, but it did force me to look deeply at how I teach and I have emerged a better teacher.
Side effects ...
I know I have never sat on my butt writing for so much time. I don't sit much on my job and that was weird. I need to hit the body maintenance hard to make up for spending January, February, and March on my derierre tapping on a key board. I could never do the desk job thing and this just confirmed that.
As far as your shark dissection questions, yes, I took some pics for you, but manana, manana...
... I have a new book to read and an early bedtime.