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Meeting Deadlines
by Nicole Chiarello

This week we asked our diarists, "What have you learned about yourself through the certification process?"

October 27, 2003

When looking at the certification process, I often think back to my college days. On the first day of class, you're handed a syllabus. The syllabus lists a big project as the final grade. Some teachers break down the project, with different parts due on different dates. Other teachers just specify the final date when the whole project is due. Back in college, I liked the first teacher better; I was forced to work on the project a little bit at a time, which made it all more manageable. Unfortunately, the National Board process is like the second teacher -- and February 16, 2004, the date all of the entries have to be turned in, is looming over our heads.

I've always been a procrastinator, so it's been very hard for me to work on the Boards. I thought, because this is my seventh year of teaching, at least the job would be easier, but I find that I still have new lessons to prepare, a pile of papers to correct, a student who is not getting the lesson....What I have learned about myself in this process is that my students have to come first.

I am constantly working on becoming a better teacher. What I need to do now is put that on paper, so I have something to turn in on February 16!

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Meet Nicole Chiarello

Nicole Chiarello received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo, of the State University of New York, in May 1994 and her master's degree in special education, learning and behavior disorders from Buffalo State College in December 1996. For the remainder of the 1996-1997 academic year, Nicole worked as an inclusion teacher at Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School in Sanborn, N.Y. For the past six years, she has taught a district-wide special education program for three-to-five students with emotional and behavioral concerns at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. Nicole was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year in 2000. She is currently serving on a district team focusing on social, emotional, and behavioral concerns in the classroom.

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