So this is a twitter thread that I posted regarding the NBCT path. Seeing how twitter is on the way down the toilet, I’ll fix some of the typos and put it up here too. Link.
So a week ago I logged into the National Board website and learned that I had scored enough points on the most recent two components to be officially certified as a National Board Certified Teacher.
I viewed this as a Covid project, completed components 1&4 in 2020-2021, and components 2&3 in this past year. It took a lot of work, probably 40 hours each for components 2, 3, and 4. Component 1 was a comp based test on math, and as precalc/calc teacher, didn’t have to study.
Would I recommend this as a path for prof development? No. Hard no.
The writing required is super weird and stilted. The most efficient writing style (essentially required to get a passing score) is a nasty mix of using acronyms to save space, answering (hidden) question prompts, and citing “evidence” that you’ve gathered.
Writing for the sole purpose of a reader who has an endless rubric that they’re scoring your work on.
Tons of danger zones too. Format something wrong? You might get a “NS”, no score, and you would have wasted the $475 for that component and wouldn’t know that fact until 6+ months later. Something screwed up in the upload process? Low score or NS and lost $ and time.
At least the $ and time are paying for comprehensive feedback right? Nope. Feedback from assessors is ONLY from premade comments. Here’s the sum total of feedback from ~80 hours of work and $950 that I received for two components:
(I can’t complain too much about the $, NYS has a grant that pays for almost all of the fees)
Do I feel like I grew professionally after all this work? Nah not really. It was a whole lot of busy work. It was a whole lot of work to figure out what they were looking for. It was a whole lot of work gathering “evidence” of stuff that everyone does.
The worst example of the type of evidence that you need to gather is the kind of evidence that you gather information about your incoming Ss. Who logs conversations with colleagues about incoming Ss? Who emails instead of talking in person because it’s easier to gather info?
Ts applying for NBCT do.
Oblig screenshot of text from his awesome blog post that I fully co-sign.
There are a whole bunch of support groups for Ts going for NB. I’d strongly recommend joining one for at least the first component that you go for. Understanding what they’re asking for took a long time for me to grok. Facebook groups also were super helpful.
Facebook groups also have _tons_ of horror stories about all the different ways that you can screw up. I feel for the people who weren’t as lucky as I. And it does feel like luck.
I had financial incentives to go for NBCT. It was a bet that I made with my time, and it paid off. It still might worth it for you. But I wouldn’t advise it as an effective path for PD or reflection.
It replaces the need for some people for grad school, so might be worth it for that reason. Still, I’m dead sure that more people start and finish grad school compared to the NBCT path. This is way cheaper though.
One last thing that stinks. The cert is only good for 5 years (used to be 10). After 5 years you have to do some more writing and, while it’s not an onerous as the initial, I’ve heard it’s still a pain. Why do they do this? Would Ts lose all their teaching muscles without it?
Feels like no. Do lawyers have to retake the bar after 5 years? Doctors? Engineers? Anybody? Cynically it feels like a cash grab, but who knows, maybe I’m wrong.