Sunday, November 22, 2009

Doing what it takes...

I am now a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT class of '09), it is a dream come true. I did not become an effective teacher overnight, knowledge and implementation of the national teaching standards and best practices over time made me the educator that I am today.
I thought my sleepless nights on the National Board was over after conquering it. But still I have been tossing and turning for the past two nights too excited to sleep recalling my challenges during my candidacy and looking forward to my next steps.
It was a personal decision for me to do whatever it takes to succeed. It was during my darkest times after my third year as a teacher under Dr. Janey's leadership that I embarked on this journey. I knew I was doing the right things as a teacher but good enough was not the best for my students. I wanted to know the best teaching practices according to the national teaching standards.
I did not get the support that I needed from my former principal, but the moral booster from my special education coordinator, a NWP colleague from Massachusetts, a parent, and my students are strong enough give me the push that I needed to continue amidst the adversities. My grandmother was another inspiration, she told me that "tough times never last but tough people do", and gave me the book before I left the Philippines in 2003; I read it again during my reflection. I closed my doors to my friends and have forgotten about my self, I focused on honing my skills as a teacher and helping my students maximize their potential.
One of my colleagues from the Pinoy Teachers Network reminded me that : "Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them." From experiences I learned to look around at what others have done and what I can do. Some of them have already met what I was going through. At work, I faced a big challenge, I decided to see it through.
I received my NBC Blue Box three times; I missed by 20 points the first time I took it. It was understandable knowing that I was not a master teacher and I was still trying to absorb the Five Core Propositions of the National Board. I never back down once I start something, I press harder each time I try. The second round that I went through the process was more difficult because I was in a traumatic situation in my school and I was on my third trimester of my pregnancy. I submitted my second entry two weeks after giving birth, with the expectation that my score was going to drop big time!
When I got my results last year lo and behold, I only missed by 2 points, and the feeling was worse. I was crying when my new principal came in my classroom and talked to me, she said:
"Ms. Angala, you have gone this far on your own, just missing 2 points from the goal, without anybody there to support you. You are going to retake the national board and you are going to pass. Why? Because I am here to support you, we will go over your entry before you submit it.

You will pass because now I see a teacher who is worthy of being called a National Board Certified Teacher. I see a teacher in front of me who is working hard to be able to pull the scores of her special needs students out of below basic in the benchmark assessments. I see a teacher who is helping her colleagues create an inviting classroom environment and a better lesson plan for their students. I see a teacher who is able to pull together resources and grants, and community help for her students to achieve. I see a teacher who is open to suggestions, receptive, and is willing to learn and make things better for her students. You will retake the National Board, and I know you will pass because you are now ready."
More than 200 hours was again spent on reflective writing and doing research on classroom management. I did not have to retake another portfolio on Enhancing Social Development, I just had to do the Assessment Center computer based test. I was so brave to retake Entry 3 when I knew that this was my weakness. I told my colleagues that I would like to get better in this area. I knew that doing a lot of reflection and researching for more effective behavior management strategies would help me become a better teacher. The percentage of losing was higher, it was more risky.
When I received the email reminder last Wednesday that the results are coming out Friday, I was already anxious. I did not know who to tell about it, I was sick as a dog until the results came out last Friday. When I logged in my profile in the NBPTS website I had to read it more than three times and check my scores repeatedly. Yes, I nailed it the third round! This has been the most challenging but my most rewarding professional development experience as a teacher! Each round made me a better teacher that my students deserve; each year showed increase in my students' achievement as evidenced by their authentic work and not just test scores.
To my colleagues in DC Public Schools, we need to set higher expectations and higher standards for ourselves so we can inspire our students and encourage them to do what it takes to be successful in life. We need to make a strong decision to take control of our actions and not just to sit by and let others define effective teaching for us. We are the key players in the education arena and not just mere instruments in this education reform. We need to make our voice heard and let everyone know what matters most to our students that we, classroom teachers, better understand.
I have gotten texts, emails, Twitter messages, calls from the people who are significant to me and those who are in my professional network. My hubby's Facebook (sorry I decided not to have another addiction) was also flooded with messages from our friends and relatives. Thank you all for believing in me, you are my inspiration.
Tough times never last but tough people do!


sarah said...

Your post summed up exactly my life for the past 3 years. I was in your same boat, missing by about 20 the first time and 2 the second. Luckily, the 3rd time was the charm. Congrats!!!!

Deborah Simon said...

CONGRATULATIONS! You are truly an exceptional teacher!!!! I will see you soon with you pin!

Deborah Simon
George Washington University

Kaye Williams said...

Great ! Congratulations. We are very proud of you.

Kaye Williams
American University

Pam said...


Pam Ross at Oyster-Adams Bilingual

Tanya said...


Congratulations on being a National Board Certified Teacher!!!!

I told you that you would join me!!!! You were fantastic!!!!
I'm very proud of you! Keep in touch.

Tanya Copeland, NBCT

Bopeep said...

Congratulations, Sis/Teacher Sol, on being Board-certified!

Miss your posts? How do I subscribe to your blog?

Bopeep Ladrido, Philippines
Sigma Beta Sorority

Sonny said...

Congratulations, Sol!

(PTN) Sonny Damasco

Jennifer said...

Congratulations !!!

(PTN) Jennifer G. Suzara-Cheng M. A . Ed.
Science Teacher
San Pedro Senior High School

Lui said...


(PTN) Lui Inigo

Rox said...

Congrats Sol and to all board passers!

(PTN) Rox Cosico
Claret School of Quezon City

Crisma said...

Congratulations, Marisol! Now this is the fruit of all your hard work and perseverance. ..this is also God's answer to all our prayers...

Mabuhay! Keep the fire burning!

(PTN) Crisma Mina
Quezon City, Philippines

Amante C. Elnar said...

Congratulations to all NBCT passers, especially to our dearest yahoogroup members.
I know you can do it because Filipinos teachers are "Ad Miora Natus" (Born For Greater Things).

(PTN)Amante C. Elnar
Vanga Teachers College
Kolombangara, Gizo
Western Province
Solomon Islands

Tess Tomita said...

Hi Marisol:

I would like to congratulate for all the perseverance & hardwork that you overcome. Again, congratulation & wish you all the best.
May God Bless you more and happy thanksgiving to you & your family.

Be bless,
Tita Tess Tomita

Maria Vandermey said...

Hi Sol,

Congratulations! You may not be hearing from me much but I tell you, through the years you have been a great inspiration for me as a teacher. You deserve this success. You've earned it!. I'm so happy for you. By the way, those "stones", they'll keep coming your way but you've definitely mastered how to make better use of them.

Your colleague,

(PTN)Maria Vandermey

Maria Lourdes Ladrido said...

You have done very well, Teacher Sol! I hope you get the opportunity to share what you have with the teachers in the Philippines - in person!

On behalf of UP Sigma Beta Sorority, I congratulate you on this latest achievement. We are proud of you!

God bless you and your family!

Love and hugs,
Maria Lourdes Ladrido

ate sonnet said...

Grabe! am basking in reflected proud that you made it to the National Board.

Congratulations! You deserve all the rewards. My prayers are with you...

alka said...

Hi Maria,

Congratulations on your being national board certified. Isn't it terrific to achieve the goal that you set? I am 12 points behind. I scored low in Entry 2 and 3 (1.5 in each) though I was not expecting that low and definitely not in entry 2. Now I am in a fixed situation to figure out what mistakes I made to improve myself. Other than that I am not getting what lessons to pick for entry 2 and entry 3. I have autistic class of mild to moderate students from 3rd to 5th grade. If possible would you please help me out?

Thanks and have a great week.

jean savoy said...

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm so proud of you!!!

Jean Savoy,NBCT
Coolidge SHS

elaine427 said...

Congratulations, this is important work. I have been student teaching in a special ed class and have found it to be challenging. Hats off to you and the other professionals who do it well.

Emma Mateo said...

hi teacher sol! congrats again! you are truly one great inspiration. you just don't know how much of an encourgament you have been to me as I went through my NBTC journey. thank you for being one of God sent angels to me..i made it!

teacher gay
(a.k.a. emma mateo)

Promethean Planet


The following is the opinion of the writer and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Any view or opinion represented in the blog comments are personal and is accredited to the respective commentor / visitor to this blog. This blogger reserves the right to moderate comment suitability in support of respecting racial, religious and political sensitivities, and in order to protect the rights of each commentor where available.