The Road to National Board Certification Part 5: Setbacks,Whining,and Turkey

I took a wonderful break from teaching and blogging for about a week and getting back into the schedule feels good. I was starting to become one with the couch. I am currently trying to recreate that feeling as I sit here right now but alas, the work is looming.

Some say that the period up until Thanksgiving is some of the most difficult of the year, but I disagree–the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is challenging me to the point of where I have to stop myself before I burst into the “What’s the difference between high schoolers and kindergarteners? Nearly nothing” rant and say, soothingly, peace, teacher—this too shall pass.

November was a busy time—I had my second Board Certification class, where we examined Component 3, the video-recording component. I have decided the norm is for me to get to the class, freak out, obsessively compare myself to what everyone else is doing, eat the emotional support chocolate I brought, ask a bunch of questions, and then contemplate what the heck I was thinking when I paid 500 dollars to do this to myself on the drive home.

Things I learned from class:

  1. You do not know whether you have “passed” a component until you have received scores for at least 3 components out of 4. That means if I do two this year, I will not really know what the scores entail. (Except I think the Component 1 score, if under a 1.75, means you should retake—it’s the standardized test.)
  2.  How to import a Google Doc w/comments into a Word doc so I can print it out with comments! Another teacher showed me this. Priceless info.
  3. Component 3 makes up 50 PERCENT of your score, while component two is a measly 20 or 25 percent—I can’t remember.
  4. As of right now, I’m not going to be working on Component 3 since Component 2 is giving me hell. I’m struggling to find two students to focus on and get good evidence from with our 6-week schedule.
  5. I am not the only overwhelmed candidate. (surprise).

I am about halfway into Component 2, and I’m realizing that there are a lot of things I’m doing well but almost as many as I’m doing not-so-well. I realize that I may have jumped into certification ‘early’ as compared to most candidates (many already have a masters–at least the ones I have spoken to). I have a lot of fears moving forward with this concerning whether I really am “accomplished” enough to even be doing this–I’ve whined to my husband about quitting a few times. He, in normal husband fashion, talks the sense. Attempting this certification has made me a better teacher so far—I’ve seen it in the work of my students. In the spirit of growth-mindset, if I fail the components this year, then so be it. There’s always next year.

Bringin’ this back, since I tend to need the reminder:

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Drink tea. No whining. Wednesday mantra.

A post shared by Shanna Bowden (@shannagailbowden) on


Hang in there, teachers! Only two more weeks of crazy.



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