Today, all across the country thousands of teachers are opening their email from National Board and shedding tears. Some of joy. Some of disappointment. Some have been working for years on the four components of accomplished teaching, and some have packed it all into a single year. There is no way to convey the anxiety and anticipation they have been feeling unless you have gone through the process.
Today as I entered my log in information my hands were shaking and my heart was beating in my throat. I tried to steel myself for whatever I would read. I knew how hard I had worked and was proud of my efforts-that wasn’t going to change based on the news today, but I knew the news today was going to change me. I would either be celebrating or game planning-there would be no quitting. The score would no more be a reflection of who I was as a teacher than the standardized test scores of students reflect who they are as learners (and people). Yet they have profound implications in the way others see us.
When I logged in the word CONGRATULATIONS! stopped me cold. Tears flowed down my cheeks and I began to sob. My shoulders felt instantly lighter and I was euphoric. After my mini-melt down I immediately began to think of my teaching partners who worked with me on this journey. There were four of us in my district who jumped in together. We helped each other video tape lessons, review our writing, give feedback on our work, and they generously loaned me their classrooms since I didn’t have one of my own. I had gone to monthly meetings sponsored by Maine Education Association for two years and partnered with teachers from across the state. How did they do?
Slowly I started to hear from them. Some shared their sense of joy and relief. Others, their heartbreak. One missed certifying by ONE POINT. Part of my commitment to this process was to support others on this journey and so my real celebration will happen when all of my colleagues share the joy I felt today.
If you know a teacher who is working on their National Boards I urge you to offer them encouragement and support. It is an incredibly challenging quest. No one gets there alone-we all need each other. If they certified today, help them celebrate. If they didn’t, be a shoulder for them.
To those of you today who opened that email and received your news…I know that you are more than that score. You are courageous and passionate about being a life long learner and you have my respect and admiration. I hope you are celebrating, and if you are not know that you will be. And when you do, that celebration will be even sweeter.
What’s On My Book Radar?
PASHMINA by Nidhi Chanani
This debut novel by Nidhi Chanani is both modern and miraculous. Priyanka is a teen who lives with her single mother in America and longs to learn about her Indian heritage. However her mother refuses to talk about her past or her homeland. ‘Pri’ discovers a pashmina tucked away in her mother’s suitcase, and when she wraps it around her she is transported to a place she can only assume is India, complete with talking animal guides and a mysterious shadow figure she is determined to identify. Caught in a tug of war between two worlds, two societies, and two identities we get to know Pri and her family. We also learn much about Indian culture and food- which is delightfully delicious! I hope students will love this graphic novel as much as I did. Enchanting!