Thursday, August 16, 2012

No National Board = Not a great teacher?

I remember first hearing about being a Nationally Board Certified Teacher at my Teaching American History Grant (TAH) workshop about seven years ago.  Since I was (and still am) interested in perfecting my craft, I investigated what it would take to become one of the few, the proud, the Nationally Board Certified.

Well, I found that it took money and the desire to start the teacher credential program all over again.  I would take the time to explain the entire process for National Board Certification except that it can be summed up into three primary focus areas.

Pay over $3,000 in fees.

Submit a portfolio of a bunch of teacher stuff that makes that one you submitted in the credential program look like a brochure for Proactive.

Jump through hoop after hoop for a credential that guarantees you zero financial benefit and expires in ten years. 

Darren over at Right on Left Coast pointed me to this article by Diane Ravitch on the corporate underbelly of Board Certification that further confirms that being part of this process weighs not-at-all on your ability to be a fantastic teacher.  In fact, exactly zero fantastic teachers I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with are Nationally Board Certified.  That includes my Master Teacher, the great teachers at my old high school, my current high school, and many high schools for which I cooperate in professional development.  It’s just not worth it. 

So now when a teacher boasts of Board Certification, I give a bit of an inner sneer.  In terms of Ivory Towers, bragging about National Board Certification ranks just above Google Certified Teachers and Apple Distinguished Educators.  Hoop jumping does not make the teacher.   

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