Saturday, March 31, 2012

National Board Portfolio Done-- Whew!

I don't think it's quite sunk in, yet, the completion of (probably) around 300 hours of work on my National Board of Professional Teaching Standards portfolio, but the thing is in the mail, and it is finished.
Me and "The Box"
Besides exhaustion, I'm experiencing waves of gratitude, toward my husband, my students, my family, my colleagues, my friends, our coaches, and my fellow candidates. I have always been incredibly lucky to have people in my life who supported me in my goals, as obsessive and single-minded as I can sometimes get with them, and as random as they can sometimes be. But this goal wasn't random. I have been waiting for the right year to pursue National Board certification, and I can't be sure if I will achieve it, but I know I picked the right year to be supported in my efforts. Although we haven't edited each others' work, it has been uplifting to know that four colleagues at my same school took on the challenge alongside me, and that 39 of us in our district were on the same journey together.

And we had the most professional support from the Arizona K12 Center. The coaches, precandidacy course, the summer institute, the retreats, the coaching Saturdays... I have never been treated so much like a professional or given so much of what I needed, down to good coffee and endless supplies of mechanical pencils and excellent highlighters.

Thanks to TUSD as well for financial and personnel support.

I don't know how people did it on their own. I suppose I look at these early-achievers kind of like the pioneer women. You know, when I'm having a bad day with my kids, I think "If I was a frontier woman, I'd be hauling water to scrub my change of undies in a wooden bucket." And, hey, these little strategies help. When I thought about all the training and feedback and material comforts we've been given, it bolstered my resolve not to procrastinate.

In fact, I have done the most non-procrastination ever, and I am so glad that I did. Because this is not something that can be thrown together in a few days. Even digesting the structure of the portfolio has to be eased into... and then to get anything out of the reflection, the entries need to be deeply planned and thought through before any real writing begins. I give myself a huge pat on the back for remaining organized throughout, in my notebooks, on my computer and googledocs... anyone who knows me knows this is a huge accomplishment on its own. And it saved my behind... maybe. We'll see if I certify. But I can say wholeheartedly that the portfolio represents my most sincere efforts with my students, and the best of my writing and thinking. 

A written exam still awaits me in April (6 essays).  Hopefully a good night's sleep awaits me tonight.  A thousand thanks to all of you who have helped me.  I hope I am able to repay the favor!

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