InClass

New National Board Certified Teacher, Dayna Burke, explains how the process changed her professional wardrobe - new accessory and outlook included. All teachers wear many metaphorical “hats.” We have ones labeled mentor, coach, advocate, parent, spouse, and friend. Sometimes, we wear them one at a

Jan 14, 2018

New National Board Certified Teacher, Dayna Burke, explains how the process changed her professional wardrobe - new accessory and outlook included.


All teachers wear many metaphorical “hats.” We have ones labeled mentor, coach, advocate, parent, spouse, and friend. Sometimes, we wear them one at a time, but usually they are stacked on top of each other, all worn at once. Recently, I was honored to add a new hat to my collection. This one has bright, shiny letters spelling, “NBCT.” I’m certainly still getting used to the feeling of it, so much so that it gives me butterflies when I remember it’s on my head.

My National Board journey began almost four years ago when I signed up to be a part of the first class of candidates to complete the newly revised components, as they were unveiled. This meant a tremendous leap of faith for myself and my fellow candidates in that we were not only embarking on this challenging journey toward certification, but as the pioneers of the new process, we were beginning each school year within this three-year process not knowing what our directions would be and what would be asked of us. I wore my NBCT Candidate hat with pride, even if I wasn’t always entirely sure where the path I was on would take me.

After my first year, I began noticing something remarkable. Even when I wasn’t wearing my candidate hat, many of my old hats now had a new embellishment. Below coach, colleague, or leader, now National Board Candidate appeared, as if to add emphasis to what was already present. What was happening was a testament to the power of the certification process.

I began to internalize and embody the Standards and the Core Propositions — they became a part of who I am. I was no longer just a coach; I was a coach who was a National Board candidate. No longer a colleague, but a colleague who was pursuing certification. A conversation with a struggling new teacher shifted from simply helping troubleshoot student engagement, to me asking questions about how instructional decisions were made and the evidence demonstrating whether or not students understood the concepts they were learning. Leading professional development became more about cultivating each participant as a reflective practitioner instead of simply covering content. No longer was I simply delivering information, but rather inviting teachers to reflect on how that content would impact their practice and their students.  This shift made me recognize that I could impact positive change, regardless of whether or not I eventually achieved certification.

Today, as I wear my newest NBCT hat, I do not know what kinds of adventures we will take together. One thing I am sure of: I won’t ever take it off. No matter what other hats I have on at the time, being a National Board Certified Teacher has become part of who I am.

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