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Progress in Spite of Everything
by Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn is working toward National Board Certification as a Middle Childhood Generalist.

November 10, 2003

Another day off from school to work on the national boards... I'm already so behind! Although I was anxious about being out of my classroom again, I woke up Monday morning, congested, and with a fever and cough -- and needing to conquer my boards! I was not calling Nikki and Stephanie and telling them I wasn't coming. I was determined to drag myself there, no matter what.

Besides, I had a deadline. I was going to finish revising entry four (for the seventh time). I had sent it to a family member (who is an English professor), two friends who are educators, and a board certified colleague at school. All had different suggestions and revised my writing very differently. I needed to sort through it all and see how to meld it all together.

I also wanted to begin writing my contextual statement -- a statement regarding my class and school -- and discuss with Nikki and Stephanie the pseudo deadlines I'd need to establish in my head. So, I stumbled out of bed, into my car, and went to meet my friends -- and to complete a task.

A box of tissues and three revisions later, we all had a successful day. I made heads and tails of the revisions I had received from my friends and guess what... we set some deadlines! Yes, we set times and dates to meet to work on boards and to network with a board certified mentor. We created that support group to help. I feel as though a weight is lifted. Will it be enough?

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Meet Stephanie Blackburn

Stephanie Blackburn, one of Education World's 2002-2003 teacher diarists, received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island in May 1994. For the first two years of her teaching career, Stephanie worked as an enrichment specialist in the talent development program for the Westerly, Rhode Island, school district. For the past seven years, she has taught fourth grade at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly. Stephanie was awarded a 2002 National Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation, in a program that provides recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.

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