Tag Archives: NBPT

Could You Be an NBCT?

This week Maine celebrated 50 new Nationally Board Certified Teachers at a pinning ceremony (along with several renewals). I joined two of my colleagues from the Augusta School district at this celebration. Next year we will go to celebrate the fourth member of our cohort who is working on this journey. Everyone in that room was feeling a sense of joy at their accomplishments, relief in their success, and respect for those around them. We all knew what it took to get us to this place. We all took this journey.Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 9.02.40 AM

Since certifying I have had several teachers ask me about the process and contemplated the challenge. Have you considered becoming a Nationally Board Certified Teacher? It’s not something everyone will be interested in. So, how do you know if it’s right for you? Maybe a place to start is asking yourself:

  • Am I someone who is continually looking for ways to hone my practice and tweak my talent?
  • Am I someone who is consistently striving to know my students and meet their needs?
  • Am I someone who knows my content and wants to instruct my students in ways that best helps them to learn it?
  • Am I someone who thinks systematically about my teaching practice and wants to learn from experience?
  • Am I someone who seeks to elevate the professionalism of teachers with a commitment to excellence?
  • Am I someone who is always looking for that next challenge to feed my growth mindset?
  • Am I someone who is looking for a learning community that will push me to be my best?
  • Am I at a place in my life where I can devote time and energy to an intense project?
  • Am I slightly crazy, obsessed, or driven to do more in life?

If you answer yes to many of these questions, board certification might be a great way for you to “up your game”.  Certainly it is not the only route- many teachers have PLNs  or are enrolled in graduate programs that elevate their thinking, pedagogy, and practice.  If there is one thing I have learned as a teacher, there are many paths to achieve outcomes and goals.

The National Board process is not easy. Most people do not certify on their first attempt. A colleague of mine missed it by one point!  But she has the heart of an NBCT because after her initial disappointment, she drafted a plan to move forward and reach that goal this year. THAT is grit. THAT is passion. THAT is what it takes to be an NBCT.

If you are interested in the process I’d love to chat with you. Connect with me on Twitter or email me through my webpage- paulabourque.com  My best advice is to think about the time you have to commit to this process and be honest about what you can do. Then try to find colleagues to do it with. It can certainly be done alone, but there is power in a PLN that is working together on the same goal.  My colleagues in Augusta (Maureen, Caroline, and Katie) and a cohort through the Maine Education Association (led by Heidi and Melissa) were there for me every step of the way- I am forever grateful to them.

You can check out National Board’s webpage on WHY CERTIFY? for more information.

What’s On My Book Radar?

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 11.36.36 AMMary’s Monster by Lita Judge

In a word, this book is AMAZING. Lita Judge has created a masterpiece about a masterpiece! The poetic writing & haunting illustrations bring her research on Mary Shelley to life so beautifully. Using letters, diaries, and historic biographies Judge retells the story of Mary’s troubled life from her birth that resulted in her mother’s death, to being sent away by a wicked stepmother, to falling in love with a married man whose creative genius was rivaled by his madness, to the conception and creation of Frankenstein’s monster. Judge weaves this this gothic tale as a graphic novel in verse that evokes an eerie mood and irresistible page turning. Definitely for older readers as it deals with painful issues of teen pregnancy, infidelity, mental illness, and child abuse/neglect. Find out the true story of a pregnant teenage runaway who was able to pen the most famous horror story of all time.




Blog Break is Over!

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed an absence of posts since the Slice of Life Challenge ended in March.  Though I haven’t been blogging, I have been writing. A week ago I finally finished and submitted the last two components for my National Board work.  Being a National Board Certified Teacher has been on my bucket list, and now it is in the hands of the NBPT assessors.

Anyone who has been through this process can appreciate how grueling and yet how rewarding the work can be.  It is certainly not for the faint of heart. One of the hardest parts is the waiting. (Tom Petty was right).  I won’t get my results until December-that’s SEVEN.LONG.MONTHS.

So to fill that void, left by the nonstop work on my boards, I am happy to announce I have a new project.  My latest book proposal was just accepted by Stenhouse Publishers and so I will be busy working on that manuscript.


The tentative title is Quick Writes: Unlocking Potential in Every K-6 Writer and I’ll be exploring the role of more low-stakes writing for helping students to discover the writer inside and develop skills without the stress of grades or judgement.

And I am eager to return to my blog where I play with ideas, share experiences, and document my teaching journey. But it’s dance recital and Mother’s Day weekend so this one is brief.   Have a great week.

What’s On My Book Radar

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 8.44.41 AMThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Occasionally I drift away from kidlit land to the world of grown up books, and on a recent trip I downloaded this to my kindle. What a timely tale! When we read about attempts to curb the press, limit women’s choices over their own bodies, and ignore science, facts, and reason we can see the groundwork being laid for a dystopian society like Gilead. Offred is a handmaid in Gilead whose tale was discovered in Bangor, Maine 150 years after she recorded it. She tells of a life stripped of humanity for the sake of law and order and adherence to strict observance of theocracy. I can see why so many people are reading this book right now and I am certainly glad I did.