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What If?
by Elizabeth Scheibl

This week, we asked our diarists, "What if you don't achieve national certification? Will the process have been worth it anyway? Will you try again?"

March 1, 2004

When I started this journey, I was unsure of many things. Did I really want to do this? Would I be able to devote the time necessary to accomplishing all the tasks involved? Could I actually achieve national certification, and if not, where would that leave me?

Of the five of us, I was the only one with children, and being a mother is hard enough without adding the pressure of the boards. For a time, I thought that I just would work at my own pace and, if all the entries didn't get completed, I would turn in what I did finish and work on the rest the following year. That agenda was acceptable for a few weeks, but as time went on, and I saw what needed to be done, I realized that the likelihood of me being able to devote this amount of time and energy again probably was not realistic. I already felt horrible on those nights or weekends when I had to put off doing things with my family to work on the boards; I didn't want to make them all go through it again. In September, I found out I was pregnant with my third child. We're very happy, but it's clear that I'll have even less time for board "retakes" next year.

With all that said, I hope I'm one of the lucky ones who achieve national board certification the first time around, although I'm aware the odds aren't necessarily in my favor. Even though the work load would be far less the second time around -- you only have to redo the parts you did poorly on -- I can be fairly sure I won't have much time for anything, let alone boards, with three children under the age of four to occupy my time.

This road has been a hard one, but I'm proud of what I accomplished. If I don't achieve national certification, I will be very disappointed -- that's only natural -- but what I have learned along the way has brought great rewards. I completed a task that not many teachers attempt and I'm proud of that.

This opportunity came along and I'm happy to have been a part of it. I've learned a lot about myself as an educator, a learner, a mother, and a friend. I don't regret going through this process and I wish all of us the best of 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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