Ways to Prepare for National Board Certification

Whitney Gordon
Whitney Gordon

National Board Certification has long since been considered a pinnacle of one’s teaching career, and it’s an official process by which standout educators are developed, retained and recognized as being the best the profession has to offer. To earn National Board Certification, teachers must demonstrate the positive classroom impact they have made, and must prove their interest in ongoing education.  Any teacher who has embarked upon the process of obtaining this certification can tell you that it is challenging. Challenging as it may be, the certification is not impossible, and can be obtained with adequate preparation. If you are considering pursuing National Board Certification, below are some ways that you can effectively prepare.

Know the Process and Requirements

 In order to qualify to obtain National Board Certification, you must have state teaching certification, a bachelor’s degree, and at least three years teaching or school counseling experience. You need to know up front that the process will take at least a year to complete, and some teachers take longer than one year. You will be assessed on a set of standards that actual educators deemed as evidence of the most competent of teachers. You will take a written exam and create an extensive portfolio. You will also choose a certification area, and you will have to provide lots of evidence from your classroom to complete your portfolio. Work samples, videos, pictures, and much more will be necessary in order to prove your competence.

Time Management

 The process takes a year or more because it’s a lot of work. If you are not managing your time, the process can become tedious and yield burn out. The temptation to procrastinate will be looming, so it’s important for you to adopt and use effective time management during this process. You will need two schedules – one long-term and one weekly. Your long-term schedule should plan deadlines for completing the portions of the portfolio. This can serve as a guide to make sure that you don’t get behind. Your weekly schedule should carve out time each week for working on the tasks at hand and preparing for the weekly exam. As a teacher, you are indubitably busy. Don’t cause undue stress with a fallacious expectation of finding time. Make time and stick to it.

 Sharpen Writing Skills

You will be writing a lot – for both your exam and your portfolio. One of the most effective preparatory actions you can take is brushing up on your writing skills. Take advantage of writing workshops offered at universities and even high schools. Practice responding to prompts and lean on your teacher-friends who are skilled in writing for guidance. There are several books, articles, YouTube videos, and more dedicated to improving writing. Do some research and take advantage of the resources that meet your needs.

 Use Available Resources

Speaking of resources, remember that you have resources available to you. National Board certification is not a new process, so there are teachers who have been successful in this endeavor. Reach out to your fellow educators for guidance and support – those with experience with the process will be an invaluable resource. In addition to these fellow teachers, there are practice tests, rubrics, explanations of standards, and more available online. Locate and review these materials before starting the process. The process is intentionally challenging, but proactively preparing for the National Board Certification will increase your chances of earning this distinguished achievement.

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