Professional Educators

Spring Break = National Boards Countdown

By Lara Searcy, National Board Certified Teacher. She is a high school English teacher in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Searcy participated in the National Board “Take One!” program in 2010, and is currently finishing full candidacy. She also adjunct teaches at Northeastern State University, specializing in Learning Styles and Technology.

S p r i n g  B r e a k. There should be respite in that phrase… unless, of course, you are working on National Boards. The deadline is March 31st, and I can feel the weight of my four entry binders on my shoulders (or in the classic “teacher bag” I carry everywhere I go) and the carpal tunnel settling into my typing fingers. However, I am content knowing that I am not alone in this process.

There are thousands of other teachers working over the break to document and show how their teaching positively affects student learning. This is the purpose, the goal, and the accomplishment… and I have never been so challenged, affirmed, or mentally exhausted in my career! During this process, I have been so fortunate to have the support and help from so many teachers in my district who have already accomplished this feat; therefore, it is because of them that I can truly respect the process because they are accomplished teachers and mentors. When I put my “box” in the mail at the end of this month, I will do so with the biggest sense of accomplishment, knowing that hundreds of hours of my life are contained in it.

But overall, in hindsight, I know it will be worth the time and effort because in showing how I impacted students, the process greatly impacted me.

So today, when my students asked me, “Mrs. Searcy, what are you doing for Spring Break?” I said “spending time with you” and laughed. Because students understand that teachers don’t go home “empty handed” at the end of the school day or before a break. They understand that the teacher will always be the student and that their homework eventually becomes my homework… and for that, my students give me respect, even when other professionals and politicians do not.

Teachers are their own unique brand and community. We immediately have empathy and stories to share. We wear our red pens like “red badges of courage.” You can spot us in a crowd by the books we carry, the hugs we receive, and the number of students who shyly approach us, asking, “Remember me?” five to twenty years later. Though I am still “young” in the profession (this is my fifth year teaching), I know that teaching is the “road less traveled,” but I like what I do and I do what I like, which has indeed “made all the difference.”

This post is part of a series from National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) who have been invited to blog about their experiences working in a priority school.

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