A National Board Certification Reflection
Below is a paper I have written for a class at Marryville University reflecting my National Board Certification process. I wanted to share how this process has deeply impacted my teaching practices with the #PhysEd community.
The National Board Certification process was an extremely worthwhile experience in my development as a physical educator. I have found that it is extremely important for physical educators to seek various avenues for self-improvement of our teaching practices. Without this, teacher practices become stagnant, which leads to students underachieving and teachers becoming complacent. With no direct, step-by-step path out there for teacher improvement, it’s up to us as physical educators to seek out this improvement. The National Board Certification is an excellent way to do just that.
While applying for the National Board Certification, I experienced a roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions. I started out eager and excited, but as I got further into the process I began to feel the desire to quit and questioned why I needed to prove once again that I was an effective physical educator whose lessons included high quality content. After much reflection, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t necessarily need to prove myself or my teaching but rather to continue my journey of improving myself as a physical educator. I also believe that the National Board process is great way to advocate for quality and effective physical education. I wholeheartedly believe that I am in charge of my own growth as a teacher, and I came to realize that applying for the National Board Certification was a great opportunity for professional development.
After pouring my heart into this process I was able to earn my National Board Certification at the end of 2013. Since that time I feel I have really grown as an educator and learned so much about myself and my teaching. Below are a few of my reflections on how my teaching practices have changed.
Assessment has always been a very difficult task for me. As a physical educator, I feel as if this has been the weakest point of my teaching. During the National Board Certification process, I focused much of my time and energy on the specific entry related to assessment. With this focus, I was fortunate enough to receive a perfect score on the assessment portion of my certification. The National Board process pushed me to deeply reflect on what I desired for students to learn and how I wanted them to demonstrate this to me. It improved my ability to assess students at a high level. Because I went through the National Board process, I can now help my students have a greater cognitive understanding of grade level outcomes and assess their ability to succeed.
The National Board Certification has greatly increased my ability to advocate for myself as well as my physical education program. As a physical educator in a time of budget and program cuts, it’s crucial to be able to advocate for your program and display what quality and effective physical education looks like. Since my certification I have established myself as a well-respected leader within my district. My superintendent is now on a first name basis with me, and my building administrator as well as others at the district level have a great deal of appreciation for myself and my program. I feel that because of the effort I have taken in receiving my National Board Certification I have brought attention to effective and quality physical education.
As teacher candidates pursue their Undergraduate and Masters level degrees, they participate in video analysis. However, I have found that once teacher candidates become professional teachers, they move away from video analysis as a form of self-improvement and reflection. Before applying for my National Board Certification, I hadn’t used video analysis as a teaching reflection tool since graduate school. The certification process reminded me once again how useful video analysis can be and how valuable using it on a regular basis to assess and improve my teaching is. Since receiving my certification, I have become an advocate for using video analysis to improve teaching practices. I have written multiple blog posts for the website PHYSEDagogy on this topic. I have also purchased a SWIVL, which is a robotic mobile accessory that holds my iPhone and follows me around the gym, recording me while I teach. Video analysis is a very powerful tool, and the National Board process really springboarded me back into using it to analyze my teaching.
I would highly encourage my fellow physical educators to consider applying for the National Board Certification. The three topics discussed above are justification enough for applying for the National Board Certification. I know that the process has greatly elevated my teaching and assessment practices and that any educator who goes through the National Board process will come out a better and more well-rounded teacher.