In the Classroom Professional Learning
Why I Pursued National Board Certification
May 28, 2018
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Erin Glenn

If someone peeked in my classroom years ago, they would have seen students seated in desks, aligned in straight rows attentively completing their work. This would have likely followed a typical lesson that required they take notes, as I lectured, and required they read a passage and answer corresponding questions. My students were quiet, well behaved and accustomed to this routine. Though this may have been perceived as effective classroom management, I knew hadn’t met the mark. I’d often implement new strategies I’d learned in professional development but continuously sought to discover how I could grow as an educator and become more effective for my students. In my search, I discovered National Board Certification, a process that forever changed my traditional routines and methods of practice.

National Board Certification completely transformed my approach to classroom instruction. Once I began to pursue certification the architecture of accomplished teaching forced me to put my aside my pacing guides and curriculum maps as I considered the heart of classroom instruction which began with my students. Who are they as individuals and who are they as learners? What do I know about them and how can I use this knowledge to establish learning goals for my class? As a result of National Board Certification my students no longer demonstrate memorization of facts that require they complete menial tasks with little to no value. They now have opportunities to problem solve, debate, investigate and critically think which allows me to facilitate, not stifle, their learning. What I found of greatest value in my pursuit of certification is the framework for classroom instruction. The framework for accomplished teaching is one that can be applied every year with every class and every student. Reflective questions align to any subject or topic always yielding different outcomes, those that provide authentic learning experiences for my students. Without a doubt the process of National Board Certification remains the most influential professional learning experience of my career.

To educators considering National Board, I’d strongly encourage you to pursue certification. The website is a great place to start as you learn requirements for submission, suggested timelines for completion and detailed guidelines of your certificate area. Your local district may also have an established NBCT Network or point of contact to support teachers interested in learning more about the process. Whether you are looking for professional development or are ready to explore the art of accomplished teaching, National Board Certification is truly the pursuit for you. Tough our stories may be different, I am certain our outcomes will be the same. You too will have found a framework for instruction that can be forever be applied to teaching and learning, meeting the needs of your students as individuals and as learners.

Erin Glenn is an 8th grade Social Studies teacher at East Lake Academy of Fine Arts. She has served as a TNCore United States History and Geography Coach, an item reviewer for state assessments and as a member of the Social Studies Educator Advisory Committee with the Tennessee Department of Education. Erin is a National Board Certified Teacher and was awarded Middle School Social Studies teacher of the year by the Tennessee Council of Social Studies. She participated in the Tennessee Educator Fellowship with the State Collaborative on Reforming Education and is a Steering Committee member for Chattanooga 2.0 and the Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance. She’s obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

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