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My Top Ten Tips for Surviving the National Certification Process
by Elizabeth Scheibl

Last month, our teacher diarists mailed back to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards "the box" containing their completed certification materials. Although still facing written assessment tests, all the diarists have completed their portfolios -- probably the most stressful and least familiar part of the process. So, we asked them to provide you with the benefits of their experience.

April 5, 2004

10. Talk with your family before taking on the challenge of national certification. Be sure they are up to the process as well.

9. Go through the process with someone you know and can work with.

8. Create a timeline for writing entries -- even if it's only a rough draft. Make the schedule reasonable and stick to it the best you can.

7. Create schedules. Set up one schedule for when you will work on the Boards, and another for when you will work with your partner(s). Decide how often you'll get together (daily, weekly, monthly) with your partner(s).

6. Get the district involved. If possible, try to get your district to provide professional days for you to work on your entries and take the assessment test.

5. Find an editor. Hook up with a past candidate who is willing to read -- and reread -- your entry drafts. Your partner also will be helpful in that regard, especially if you are working toward the same certification, but it's always nice to have another opinion.

4. Be familiar with the standards. Be sure to reference the standards in all your entries.

3. Don't be humble. Don't worry that your writing will make you sound like a super teacher. You're supposed to sound like one!

2. Plan time for yourself. Do things for yourself, and do things with family and friends. You'll need an occasional distraction.

And the number one tip to surviving the national certification process is...

1. Try your best and work your hardest. And remember, it's an accomplishment just to have tried!

Good luck!

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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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