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The Waiting Game
by Stephanie Capalbo

January 03, 2005

How did I feel on Thursday, November 18, 2004, when my kindergarten colleague warned, "The National Certification Board is posting our results tomorrow"?

Let me remind you of the past year of my life. After much stress, typing, revising, and editing, I mailed my portfolio entries to the Certification Board in February, 2004. In March, I sat for 3 hours of testing. Then, the waiting game began.

Now, after nine long months, one would think I would be logging on to the Board's Web site at the stroke of midnight on November 19. And, trust me, at 12:01a.m., it did cross my mind to learn my scores. What I felt most, however, wasn't anticipation; it was dread! We all had talked and fretted and tried to prepare ourselves for NOT passing the Boards -- because the reality is that many don't pass on the first try -- but rationalizing the results in my head and really knowing for sure are worlds apart!

The day the results were posted, I watched each of the other four Board candidates in my building go through many emotions as they learned their results. I vowed NOT to get on that rollercoaster until I was alone, at home, and ready for the truthwhatever it was.

For me, that moment came early Saturday morning. As I typed my candidate information into the Board's Web site, I literally stopped breathing until the "Congratulations, Your Are A National Board Certified Teacher!" welcome screen appeared. Months of hard work had paid off! I was relieved, excited, and proud of my accomplishment.

Now, as a board-certified teacher in early childhood education, I would like to be able to provide support to others working through the same process -- whether by reassuring them of deadlines, proofreading papers, or refocusing them during times of stress. But would I recommend the process to others? Absolutelyalthough I wouldn't sugarcoat it. The process required hours and hours of time, self-analysis, and reflection on what goes on daily in my classroom. The payoff, however, is great -- becoming a better teacher, more in tune with my students and their needs and with my own strengths and weaknesses. So, for now, I'll bask in the knowledge that I did it

I am a National Board Certified Teacher!

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Meet Stephanie Capalbo

Stephanie Capalbo received a bachelor's degree in psychology with a concentration in elementary education from Rhode Island College in May 1995. She became certified in early childhood education in August 1997. For the past six years, Stephanie has been teaching kindergarten at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. In the fall of 2000, the kindergarten at Bradford became the first and only kindergarten in the district to receive accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). In 2003, Stephanie was named Westerly's Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.

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