Rising From the Ashes

The room is abuzz with National Board candidates and coaches conversing quietly on a Saturday morning. The date is January 25, 2020, and today is my first Coaching Saturday as a coach instead of a candidate. I had been looking forward to this day for months so I could have a chance to give back and help encourage others on their journeys toward National Board Certification. I reviewed my notes on Cognitive Coaching the night before and the morning of so I would have best practices for supporting candidates fresh in my mind. I was bubbling over with excitement about having coaching conversations and working with passionate educators that I felt like a kid at Christmas time! In between these conversations with my candidates, I stopped for a moment to look around the room.

Candidates, I see you.

I see you reading and re-reading the component directions trying to make sense of what you have to do.

I see you furiously typing as you try to keep up with your racing thoughts and put them on paper before you lose your train of thought.

I see you analyzing work samples trying to figure out which is the best one to use.

I see you with your headphones in, watching your videos and asking yourself why you chose to wear THAT outfit the day you were taking a video–at least, that is what I asked myself after every video I took.

I see you confidently speaking with your coach about the work you have done so far. I also see you anxiously speaking with your coach about the work you have not started yet. (But you will!)

I see you feeling like this certification process will consume you and that one day you might just burst into flames leaving behind a pile of ashes in your place, much like the mythical creature of the phoenix.

In the legend of the phoenix, the mythical bird lives a long life of up to 500 years, which is exactly how long the waiting period is between submitting your National Board portfolio and receiving your scores. (Was it just me that felt that way?) At the end of its life, it dies in a show of flames and combustion. But then, it obtains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor.

Going through the National Board Certification process can certainly feel like it will burn you up and consume you, but like the phoenix, you will rise from your ashes anew. In your “new life” as a National Board Certified Teacher, you will find that your teaching has transformed and that you are a better teacher because of it. Because you know that you proved to be an effective and reflective educator, you will rise from the ashes as an NBCT, which impacts students by having a confident, caring, and knowledgeable teacher.

How has becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, or going through the process, impacted your teaching?


Caitlin Gawlowski

I was born to be a teacher, although I did not realize that teaching was my calling until I began college. I have always loved to write and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before I began my freshman year of college, I changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and have never looked back. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during my student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District.
I spent 7 years in the Washington Elementary School District teaching 2nd and 3rd grade. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and I hold a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks the beginning of my 8th year teaching, where I will be teaching 3rd grade English Language Learners, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification.
If I am lucky enough to have free time, you can find me planning my wedding, spending time with my infant son and fiancé, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

Interesting essay samples and examples on: https://essays.io/questionnaire-examples-samples/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top