National Board Certification for Teachers: Tips and Guidelines

Is National Board for You?

Teachers should be encouraged to take on the professional development opportunity of completing the National Board process. However, they also need a "reality check" about the arduous task. Completing this process will cost teachers two things: time and money.

The Cost

To complete the process, it costs $2500 plus a non-refundable $65 (3/16/09) fee to receive the candidate identification number to begin the process. The $2565 does not include the cost for the use of a video camera and computer, tapes or DVDs, paper, and ink.

Time Commitment

Many teachers would argue that the biggest cost is time, time, and more time. It does take 200-400 hours or more to complete the four portfolios and six assessment center computer tests. This estimate of time is not an exaggeration. A teacher will need to collect student work, verification forms, and a variety of evidence.

Video Tape Lessons

Plus, the teacher will need to videotape at least two lessons. These videotaped lessons not only need to follow the directions in the certificate area guidelines, the recordings also need to show solid teaching. The hardest part for many teachers is to video tape a great lesson and to be able to hear the students. Many teachers find that they need to video tape several lessons to get the best footage, which is not allowed to be edited in any way.

Describing, Analyzing and Reflecting

In addition to all of the collecting and video taping, teachers need to write. They need to be able to describe, analyze and reflect upon their teaching. This writing takes a great deal of effort, and teachers need to spend a large amount of time reading and re-reading the National Board Standards and guidelines.

So, before taking on this wonderful professional development opportunity, go to the National Board for Professional Teacher’s website. The certificate directions and guidelines can be downloaded for free. A vast amount of information is listed there as well. Also, talk to teachers who have gone through the process.

Changing Economic Times

Some states subsidize the application fees; however, some states now have stopped funding due to the declining economy. In addition, some states give a yearly stipend to National Board Certified Teachers; however, some have stopped that as well.

It takes a score of 275 to become a NBCT. Is all the time and money worth it? Most would answer, yes! However, make sure to do your research before you begin.