Dr. Baros is a dedicated researcher, educator, and LGBTQ advocate. Her areas of expertise are proficiency-based language teaching and creating inclusive environments for LGBTQ students and people.
Woohoo! We're almost done with Part 1 of this NBCT Series of posts: Getting Familiar with the NBCT process. You have a general idea of what each component entails, a rough timeline for how to complete the components, and all of the information provided by the NBCT website. But... What exactly make someone an accomplished teacher?
Fear not! Your new handy-dandy binder(s) contains all of the questions... Sort of.
What I finally came to realize through this process is that while a traditional evaluation and certification process requires specific tasks to be met, those items are intended to ensure that you're qualified to teach and identify specific areas for improvement. That is not the goal of NBCT, however. Rather, NBCT encourages and reaffirms your accomplished professionalism.
Have you ever paused to think about what defines a "professional"? Is it the fact that they're paid for what they do, such as the difference between being a professional vs. amateur photographer? Is it their behavior, such as in the case of professional vs. un-professional attire and language? Personally, I feel the idea of a true "professional" aspires to more than that.
In my mind, a professional is a person who is not only highly skilled in the concrete requirements outlined in their job requirements, but also has a feel for subtle, nuanced, and usually complex needs and takes necessary and effective steps to address them.
THIS is what NBCT is looking for. And the context is provided by the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching.
I recommend putting this somewhere - ideally multiple somewhere - that you'll see it often. Stick it wherever you tend to plan, think about, and reflect on your teaching. Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I set it as my computer background on both my home and work computers.
Next, get in the habit of using the following sentence frames (or something similar) to talk about your teaching - you'll be laying the groundwork for your written commentary in Components 2-4 and perhaps even your essay questions in Component 1:
What does writing like this do? It exposes your thinking! And that's what NBCT is all about - you are a professional and there is so much going on below the surface. They want to see the rest of the iceberg!
To dive in deeper, here is a great resource about the Architecture from NBCT.
While the Architecture is consistent throughout all teaching, the Standards bring it home to your specific subject. Hopefully, what you read in your own standards isn't all that unfamiliar, though it might be expressed in a new light. Always remember, though, that they are founded upon the Architecture, so read the standards with it in mind.
To get the most out of reading your standards, I recommend having at least two highlighters available. Choose a lighter one (yellow, orange, pink) to highlight big ideas. The second highlighter, though, is the one you're really going to mileage out of: use it to highlight specific words or phrases that you can use in your own written commentary. You'll want to find these words quickly to help you express how you have met these standards in a clear, concise, and convincing (see your "4" Scoring rubrics!) way. They're handing you the language, so use it! You may even wish to take this one step further and create your own glossary/menu with these terms for to keep handy while you're writing, whether it's using the reflection paragraph above or when you're working on your actual written commentary.
On to Part 2: Diving In!
So, now you know what NBCT entails AND what they expect of you. Now comes the real fun: Developing your components and creating your portfolio entries. We'll start with some "Kiddie Pool" activities specific to each component and then talk about strategies for doing "Deep Dives" to really fine-tune your work and submissions. For now, though, I'm going to eat lunch and ride a pony! Why is that relevant?
Because the #1 rule of NBCT is SELF-CARE. And trust me, from this point on, you're going to need it.
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