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Two of Our Own Are Recogized Nationally

Congratulations to Mrs. Eichelberger and Ms. Bruch.

On January 18th, Dr. Davis, the cabinet staff of UCPS, and the UCPS school board recogized teachers that were honored with receiving their National Board Certification (NCBT).  Many family members and loved ones were also present to celebrate with our very own Frances Eichelberger and Kristen Bruch at the UCPS NBCT banquet.  Congratulations to Mrs. Eichelberger and Ms. Bruch for achieving this recognition.  On the adjoining page are their perspectives on the National Board experience.

National Board Experience - By Frances Eichelberger

Now that all is said and done, I'm glad I went through the National Board process.  I learned a lot about visual literacy, integrating literacy into content areas, and some new ways to help struggling writers.  I got to watch myself teach on video.  This was a bit humbling!  To be very honest, I felt accomplished by the mere fact that I mailed the box two days before the deadline!  There are very specific directions and grave warnings about how to organize and pack all of your entries and materials.  Failure to adhere to the guidelines would put you in jeopardy of not having some of your work scored.  Such pressure!  Having three children and a husband who is away a lot on business, I was elated that the box went out in one piece!

The biggest thing I learned through all of this was that I have many kindred spirits at Antioch.  There were certain people who were very gracious and kind during this period of my life.  I work with teachers and students in grades K-5 and do not have my own classroom.  This put me in a bit of a bind.  There were many teachers who invited me into their classrooms to work with and film their students.  I was thankful for Mrs. Piccirillo and her 2009-2010 third grade class for welcoming me into their class.  I will always be grateful for Tammy on her flexibility and kindness.  I'm thankful to Mrs. Garson and her class from last year, as well, for letting me work with them and using their work in both reading and writing.  I am thankful to our students at Antioch who are smart and look really cute on film!  I'm grateful to my friends Pat, CJ, Jen, Karen, and Elizabeth for proofreading my stuff.  I am thankful for Mrs. Gwinn who went out of her way to help all of us who were going through the process.  I'm thankful for my husband who was Mr. Mom every weekend while I locked myself away and worked on my projects.  Finally, I'd like to thank the academy...Just kidding!  This is what I remember most about the process.

National Board Experience - By Kristen Bruch

Uncertainty.  Regret.  Fear.  Excitement.  Humility.  Foreboding.  Regret.  Relief.  Pride.  Throughout the National Board process my emotions have run the gamut, but perhaps the most pervasive thought I had from October 2009-November 2010 is:  "what was I thinking?"

I downloaded and printed all the material but I couldn't even comprehend the first page of what was expected of a NBCT without rereading it several times.  Right then I wondered if I had made a smart choice.  However, reflecting on my teaching and trying to do it better has always been a strength (or weakness of mine) depending on how you look at it.  I've been teaching for 7 years now and rarely do the same lesson twice.  That makes lesson planning hard and time consuming, but it probably benefits my students.  Again, what was I thinking?

Trying to balance school and boards work?  What made me a good enough teacher to think I could do it?  And then came the test questions that simulated a 4th grade science classroom:  "If steel is heavy and sinks, how can a large ship/aircraft carrier float?"  You don't want to know my first response.  And once I got over my shock, I had to figure out what scientific principle was being taught and how do I teach that to my students (w/o the benefit of research or planning, mind you).  Oh well.  I tried, but ended up being way off base.  It didn't have anything to do with buoyancy or the amount of air in an object- it had to do with the ability to disperse water.  Now I know, so once again I was back to:  "what was I thinking?"

Lots of late nights, Panera Mac and Cheese and weekends spent at the library.  Then came the months of waiting for the results and wondering about my scores.  The teachers that I held as mentors all had their certification-what if I didn't get it?  I have this irrational fear of failure- just ask my parents.  Finally, Nov. 19th, came and the results were to be posted midmorning.  I had to teach so I wasn't sure when I could check my results.  It wasn't until much later than most of my friends that I finally worked up enough nerve to log onto the computer to find out.  I was ecstatic and flooded with a sense of disbelief.  Everything I had worked so hard to do and become as a teacher had been validated.  Now I just have to continue living up to those standards, but I think I'll take a little time off before thinking about renewing and the adventures that holds....

One thing is for certain though - I wouldn't have been able to be successful in this crazy endeavor without the constant support of my family, friends, coworkers and parents who helped keep me sane through videotaping and coffee breaks.  And even though I am very proud to call  myself a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, I am even more proud to say I work at Antioch Elementary, knowing that excellent teachers and staff in pursuit of excellence surround me.

Written by: Kathy Gwinn, Frances Eichelberger, and Kristen Bruch
Posted: Jan 31, 2011 by Kathy Gwinn

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