What makes National Board Certification Meaningful?

If you're asking yourself, “Is the National board teacher certification worth it?” I'm here to tell you - yes it is! 


 Through this process you'll become a diagnostic and reflective teacher. A teacher who understands the things that really matter to your students. You will become a professional that can diagnose the smallest needs and build from those needs to strengths. You will make adjustments in your instruction sooner and that adjustment will support your students in being able to dive deeper into their learning. 


Many U.S. states have initiatives that support teachers working toward National Board Certification.  These initiatives may include a pay raise for the advanced certification like doctors, speech pathologists and other professionals get when reaching their National certification level. For example, in 2022, Maryland unveiled a blueprint for bringing National Board Certified teachers to Maryland’s lowest performing schools as the program will increase the NBCT’s salary by $10,000.  In addition, if teachers stay at or move to a low performing school the state will generously provide another $7,000 to their salary. Research is clear that National Board Certified teachers outperform their peers in most instances.  The work a NBCT does in Maryland will no longer go unnoticed and the students in most need will reap the benefits of the program.  


Another state that sees the worth in getting National Board Certification is Texas. Beginning in April of 2021, NBCTs could earn a Recognized designation.  Eligibility for the incentive allotment designation requires the Texas teacher to be employed in a public or charter school, hold an active National Board certificate, and complete a creditable year of service to receive anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000 depending on the socioeconomic status of the students’ taught.


What a wonderful feeling to know that getting stronger at the work we do is recognized by the people who are signing our paychecks. It is also exciting to think about the opportunities a National board certified teacher has to up-level in his or her career. I’ve seen teachers stay in the classroom and receive more opportunities for mentoring, leadership, and program development.  In addition, I’ve seen many teachers go from being in the classroom to becoming interventionists, instructional coaches, principals, or superintendents to advocate and implement even more change to a wider population.  Whatever you decide to do, it will all be worth the hard work to gain National Board Certification. 

The National Board standards for the process guide teachers into what they should do in their classrooms at each developmental and subject level. These standards support big growth in the teachers that implement them in their classrooms. There is pride in knowing that you are one of the elite that follow their standards and that administrators can see the difference in your work versus the teacher across the hall that does not follow these professional standards. 


Time and time again I’ve seen National Board Certified teachers receive an edge on others when it comes to interviewing for a more advanced level of employment. 


I believe it is worth it to get your National Board Certification because you will be able to diagnose both the strengths and needs of your students, while also learning to bring the interests of the students into play to deeply engage them in their learning. 


You will learn more about assessment and about equity and diversity and how that creates shifts in your classroom. Let me give you an example of one teacher who determined that national board certification was meaningful enough to spend her time on it.  This particular teacher had a difficult class that caused her to question whether she was even going to stay in the profession. Instead of leaving the profession and this type of class behind, she decided to take on the the national board certification process. Her efforts paid off as she turned that group of students around in the 120 days she worked on the process. Because of the National Board Certification those students began to own their learning. The teacher and her students all resided in a harmonious classroom community where students initiated self-assessment and welcomed the use of formative assessment to know their strengths and understand their weaknesses. The students began to support themselves in going deeper on tasks and in learning skills and standards that they needed to know. The teacher learned to differentiate instruction for students and all their needs were being met at their own level. Fifteen years later, I’m happy to report that  this teacher is still in the classroom enjoying all the fruits of this work.


National Board Certification is a difficult process but it is a rewarding process which makes the productive struggle worth it. I hope you also think that national board certification is worth it and that you begin the process to register and get started growing big. I also believe that after the initial certification process you will want to renew your National Board Certification to make sure you are continuing to be reflective of your practice in every way possible.


Beginning this process is daunting but if you are curious as to why I became a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), make sure to check out my story. I also have great resources to get you prepared and to start your NBPTS Certification journey on my website www.traceybryantstuckey.com/.  


Growing big in the classroom has never been so fun!


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