Prior to my involvement with National Boards I was starting to feel the "burn out" that is common after 10 years of teaching. When my principal suggested that I pursue NB certification, I thought she was crazy. At a time when I was questioning whether or not I should continue working in the teaching profession, she suggested that I delve deeper into it.
I'm so glad I listened to her and attended the support group for National Board certification at Stanford. It has completely revitalized my teaching practice. I now, 4 years after achieving certification, approach my classroom as a problem solver. There is little or nothing in my class that is done "just because." There is a reason that the desks are arranged the way they are, the children line up the way they do, I organize long range lesson plans the way I do, and I teach the standards the way that I do.
I may not have much say over WHAT is taught (given the strict mandates of my district to teach given concepts at certain times of the year/month/week/day/hour), but
I have control over HOW. This has made an enormous difference in the way that my students learn.
NBPTS certification really lit something in me. Once I achieved certification, I felt an intense desire to improve my teaching practice in other ways. I obtained a master's degree in education, worked for NB as an assessor, spent a summer with the Bay Area
Writing Project, and will be spending the upcoming summer as a returning fellow with BAWP. My desire to improve my teaching practice (that began when I first worked toward NB certification) has been ongoing.
I truly believe that had it not been for the National Board process and the inspiration provided by the teachers and support staff involved in the Stanford support program I would no longer be teaching, or at the very least, I would no longer enjoy teaching...and what would be the point of that?