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The Benefits
by Elizabeth Scheibl

This week, we asked our diarists, "How do you think your efforts to achieve national certification have benefited your students?"

February 2, 2004

Although the national certification process has been time consuming, rigorous, and very draining, one very important benefit has been obvious to me: the process can't help but make teachers reflect on the practices and strategies they use every day.

I'm always asking myself these two questions: "How does what I'm doing impact student learning?" and " What could I do or have done better with that lesson?" Even though I asked myself those same questions before starting the board process, I wasn't consistent about it; now, I ask the questions about everything I plan and teach. I have become much more adept at differentiating instruction to better meet all my students' needs, and that most definitely has impacted my students' success rates. By looking closely at my teaching in order to write about it for national boards, I have found common threads throughout my instruction.

Perhaps, for some, achieving national board certification is done because of ego -- and that certainly can be a factor for anyone. Who doesn't want to receive acknowledgment for his or her work? But no one can avoid the other pluses -- a pay increase, certification for ten years, and, yes, the fact that, even if you're not trying to, you will become a better, stronger, more reflective teacher. And that strongly impacts student learning.

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Meet Elizabeth Scheibl

Elizabeth Scheibl received her bachelor's degree in English literature and elementary education from Providence College in May 1990. For five years, she was a resource teacher at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. For the past eight years, she has taught fourth grade at the school. Elizabeth enjoys the daily challenges that teaching offers and strives to grow and better herself as an educator.

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