Becoming a National Board Certified Teacher

English teachers Jennifer Maletz and Kellee Lyons were awarded by the National Board Certified Teachers, a program that allows teachers to teach in any state if they qualify. They are a part of the three percent of the nation’s teachers to acquire this certificate.


Matthew Au: Can you tell me about the National Board Certified Teachers process?
Jennifer Maletz: The process that you have to go through is up to three years where you’re completing four components to demonstrate competency in all areas of your teaching. I had to show them videos of me teaching and then comment on them and explain what it was I was doing, while I was doing it and how it best impacts kids and then you have to reflect on what you would do better in the future. I have to show samples, statistics, run data and talk about how what you did worked and didn’t work and your justifications behind it. It’s a peer reviewed process that means that other teachers actually look at your work based on rubrics just like we do with students, and determine whether or not you’re hitting the mark as far as they’re concerned with your teaching skills and strategies.

Au: How would you describe this experience?   
Maletz: Definitely intense and vigorous, exhausting but also a really good opportunity to measure how I’m doing. You don’t get a lot of feedback and impact so having to do all personal self reflection and see how far I’ve come in more than 20 years of teaching was exciting and invigorating. Now that it’s done, I can look back and say that was great.

Au: How did they let you know that you passed the components?
Maletz: As a candidate you have an interface with their online information and on the day of release, which was December 16. You could go on the opening screen where there were fireworks if you passed. I checked at about three in the morning on a Saturday because I couldn’t sleep anymore, I was so excited. It’s really exciting.

Au: How did you feel once you found out you passed?
Maletz: I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so elated and then I had to wait to tell people because it was 3 a.m. I still feel on the high end of a bubble because it was such a difficult, it was harder than my Master’s degree. To have passed it, it feels so amazing to do that and it’s a rare honor. You know, it really measures me against the nation’s teachers and it feels pretty good.

Au: How does this affect your teaching career?
Maletz: Should I ever move, which I have no intention of doing, I don’t have to get recredential education. As long as I maintain it, I can teach in any state and then there is monetary compensation through the district because it’s a rare thing and it does make our school and the district look good to have National Board Certified Teachers, so they give you a little bit of a bump in salary.


Bhalpriya Sandhu: When did you find out you were a National Board Certified Teacher?
Kellee Lyons: We got an email saying they would post that day and I woke up because I was anxious. When I woke up I had already been texted by another English teacher saying that she had passed. Then I was really anxious. When it came up there were all these fireworks on the screen. I burst into tears so my husband thought I hadn’t passed and I was just so happy.

Sandhu: What were some incentives that made you want to start the process?
Lyons: For me, it’s that I’m very competitive with myself. I’d already done everything else. I’d been on every committee I could possible be on and I do have a masters in English, so I thought that this is one more thing I could do.

Sandhu: What impact has this journey had on you?
Lyons: It’s made me take a step back on some of the things I teach. I did get rid of the things that just seem like busy work once I had to start analyzing it. I started creating rubrics a lot more to explain to student why they got the grade that they got. I find that the rubrics are helpful, not that i don’t want to meet with students, but it helped the chaos that come in during tutorial. The rubrics helped cover some of that.


Compiled by Matthew Au, and Bhalpriya Sandhu, Staff writers
Photo by Airi Gonzalez