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My Final Thoughts
by Jennifer Sinotte

Our five diarists now have completed both the portfolio and assessment portions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards teacher certification process. For their final entry of the year, therefore, we asked them to share with the NBPTS and with you their thoughts about the process and how it might be improved to better meet the needs of future candidates.

May 3, 2004

As I sit here knowing that I'm finished with the whole national certification process, I can honestly say it was well worth my time. (Although, if you had asked me that question when I was in the middle of the process, I can't be sure my answer would have been the same!)

For me, taking the introductory course that was offered before I started the Boards was an important part of the process. It gave me the opportunity to see what I was facing and an out if I had decided it was going to be too much work at this stage in my life. The course also allowed me to talk with teachers who already had gone through the process and ask them any questions I had about the Boards.

As it turned out, the written entries were time consuming, and took a lot of organization. If a candidate understands what's expected and sticks to answering the questions, however, he or she should do fine in that part of the process.

The part of the process that I feel might need to be revised is the assessment center. I realize that it's important to test a teacher in his or her own area of expertise, but expecting a teacher of students with special needs, for example, to cover the entire exceptional needs area, from birth to age 21 seems unrealistic. I've taught for eight years in an elementary school, but I never taught high school or pre-school; studying for all those age ranges was complicated and difficult. I believe I'm a good teacher and I give 110 percent, but the assessment center part of the Board process was most stressful for me. I left feeling as though I had been punched in the stomach by a professional boxer!

I love being a teacher and, all in all, I feel that the national certification process was a positive experience, and if I don't make it on this first attempt, I plan on trying again next year. (Although I'll be interested to see if I feel that way after I receive my scores in November!)

I wish the best to anyone who is thinking about trying to become a National Board Certified teacher. Just attempting the process is a feat in itself. Good luck!

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Meet Jennifer Sinotte

Jennifer Sinotte received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Franklin Pierce College in May 1992, and her master's degree in special education from Providence College in May of 1998. Jennifer has spent her teaching career at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. For the first two years of her career, she was a resource teacher for grades four and five. For the past four years, Jennifer taught in a primary self-contained classroom, and recently switched to full-day kindergarten.

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