Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why The National Boards?

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.


Woodie said...

Best of Luck with your Boards. No doubt the colleges will gladly take your extra cash...

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Too bad we (as a society) cannot figure out a way to properly renumerate the teaching profession in such a way that the truly outstanding teachers can have a chance to earn top dollars.

It seems that the top people in most other professions have at least an opportunity to earn a high income. But the salary structures that have developed in the teaching profession assume that teachers (with comparable education levels and number of years of experience) are interchangable in effectiveness and productivity. We know this isn't true, but the salary structures in place still reflect that way of thinking. Hopefully this will change (and within OUR lifetimes).

LauraHinNJ said...

I hope that when all is said and done you will look back on all that reflection as a good thing. I'm sure you learned a lot about yourself as a teacher.

I had to do a lot of that (guess other teachers do also) when I was student-teaching and then during my first year. I don't know that it helped me any at that time, 'cause the only thing that I had to reflect on was how little I knew about teaching! But now, with ten years or so experience with it, I can see that it would be helpful to me.

It would be neat for you to mentor other teachers - have you done that or had a student teacher? I'd imagine you'd be an excellent role model for someone just starting out.


pablo said...

And now I know.


Lightnin said...

All of us who check in to Pure Florida on a daily basis KNOW you are a great teacher! I know it's been mentioned numerous times that we wish we'd hada teacher like you! Good luck and I for one am sure you will get this great award!

Lightnin said...

Maybe if I'd a teacher like you I wouldn't have used the term "hada"

threecollie said...

Good luck on them, although I am sure your talent will preempt the need for much in the way of what is the good book? I am always looking for something new to read! lol

Mark said...

I salute you. Your students are lucky.

robin andrea said...

When we as a nation pay teachers and nurses a salary that is commensurate with the work they perform, we will be living in the paradise of my dreams. I hope you are recognized for the spectacular work that you do with your students.

Anonymous said...

So - What's the new book? That little mini-point caught my interest as well!

Good luck, Fc.

Floridacracker said...

For overpriced books the prof never uses.

Very well said. The National Certification is an attempt to Professionalize the profession and improve the salaries.

Thanks! I mentor informally and as an assigned peer teacher to a new teacher each year. The peer teacher program is designed to get the new teacher off to a good start so they won't run screaming from the building on a daily basis.

Maybe more than you wanted huh?

Thanks, hada's cool here. We're among friends, doncha know.

Three Collie and Thingfish,
The book is "Dark Light" by Randy Wayne White. A Florida mystery involving a hurricane and a shipwreck. I only read 4 pages before I conked out, so I can't give an opinion yet.

Thanks, we do okay together.

It's a bizzare world where paramedics, cops, nurses, teachers, and similar service pros make less in a year than a pro athlete makes in a couple of weeks. Rewarding those who contribute nothing while society's
caregivers barely squeak by must make any aliens observing us shake their heads in wonder.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who just received national certification, I salute the amount of work you put in to complete that! Congratulations.
Caroline in South Dakota

Floridacracker said...

Caroline in SD,
Welcome to Pure Florida! Thanks for the comment and congrats to your friend.