The National Board experience is different for each teacher. For one teacher it might involve national conferences, but for another teacher it might involve making the most of resources at hand.
National Board Core Proposition 5 states, “Teachers are members of learning communities.” Charlotte Martin, an English teacher, shared, “Teachers are professionals. Like other professionals, learning does not and should not stop after earning a teacher's certification.”
Teachers often have rich learning communities at the local level. Martin takes advantage of this. “My primary learning community is the other teachers at Bob Jones High School. Oftentimes professional development provided by the school allows for collaboration with other English teachers. It is helpful to not only talk with teachers of the same subject and grade but also to hear the sequence of learning and grade-level expectations in English. These professional developments also provide the opportunity for all English teachers to discuss areas of needed academic growth for our students.”
Martin’s subject matter expertise aligns with Core Proposition 2: “Teachers know the subject matter they teach and how to teach and how to teach those subjects to students.” English Language Arts instruction encompasses many skills that can affect students in other subject areas and even in later in life. Martin makes it her mission to see that her students see the value of the material beyond the lesson at hand. “In my classroom, one of my primary goals is to enhance and further students' understanding of the power of language. This encompasses both written and oral language. I lean on my expertise in English instruction to guide my students in reading, analyzing, organizing, and presenting language in an effective way. The ability to use the power of language empowers students far beyond the classroom.”
Martin’s commitment to her professional growth did not lessen after she earned her National Board certification. “The National Board process is a rigorous reminder of all that an excellent teacher needs to be. It requires a teacher to evaluate all that she does and why she does it. National Board encourages reflection to recognize mistakes and correct them in a manner that best supports students.” Going through the process of certification cements the regular practice of reflection and correction, and this is something that all National Board teachers have in common, no matter the grade level or subject area.