This is the time of year when teachers and school counselors around the United States begin to consider pursuing candidacy for the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards. I was in this boat back in 2008. In the spring, my school district offered a special information session. This session explained the process and the amount of time and dedication needed. Like most, I was in a fog as I took in all of the information shared that afternoon. Having now completed it, I believe- at least for me- going through the entire process helped me to better understand it. Like many of you, I heard varying opinions about what it took to do it, how “hard” it was, and where I needed to start. I believe you have to approach the NBPTS process in a way that works best for YOU! What worked well for others may not be the way you should go. I will be sharing posts on this subject on my blog to give my perspective and approach which helped me to achieve certification my first year. Keep in mind, however, that it can take up to three years to certify. Although I really wanted to finish the first year, I knew in the back of my mind it could take longer.
I began my summer break that year planning to read and get to know the school counseling standards. This was a suggestion offered to me by a NBCT co-worker. I said okay, packed up my office, and left for summer break. She was right! Why not use the summer to get a head start so I would be ready to begin my entries after settling into the next new school year? I had good intentions…
Do as I Say, Not as I Did!
So… I didn’t read my standards over the summer. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it. Knowing what I know now, I would have been reading and highlighting throughout the entire summer. What I didn’t “get” until the fall when I finally did start reading was this: The standards are telling you what an accomplished school counselor’s program should look like, and as you read through those standards, you will hopefully find your program meets many of them. You will also discover the areas in which you can improve and where your program may be lacking. If you are reading these things over the summer, you have time to plan how you can implement those missing links into your program.
You can find the standards for school counseling here. When you get there, just follow the link that says “download standards.” Unless you enjoy reading lots and lots of information on a computer screen, I would suggest printing them all. For me, it helped to have them in my hands so I could jot notes and highlight key points.
Stick around, I will be posting again soon about the NBPTS process. Will you be taking the big leap into your National Boards this year? I’d love to hear from you. Connect with me!