J.O. Combs Unified School District and Combs High School are proud to announce that Jessica Furman, CHS Math Teacher, has been awarded National Board Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching.
Ms. Furman has been a teacher at Combs High School since 2007 and is an active member and leader on a variety of school and district committees. She shared some of why she pursued National Board Certification and how the process has impacted her teaching.
What made you pursue certification?
I had heard about NBCT early in teaching, but hadn't thought much about it until the Arizona K12 Center came to speak and promote the program at one of our district professional development days. After listening to teachers speak about the process, I decided it was something I wanted to look into and that led to starting the process. I liked the opportunities for growth and self-reflection. I am a perfectionist, so I am always wanting to improve. This made me analyze and reflect on what was happening in the classroom at a much deeper level than I ever had in the past.
How long did it take you to become certified?
I started the process in Summer 2015 by attending a workshop sponsored by AZ K12. This helped me to understand more about the process and the individual components. I submitted Components 2 and 3 in May 2016, took the Component 1 test in June 2016, and submitted Component 4 in May 2017.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in the process?
Every step of the process, we had to explain our choices and decisions in the classroom - choices for instructional activities, scaffolded learning objectives, choice of assessments, and differentiated instruction opportunities. From the way I group students in the classroom for an activity to the way I interact with students during a lesson, I needed to analyze everything about my classroom and my students. At times it was a very humbling experience, because every analysis showed different areas of potential growth and improvement. Teaching is an art, there is no perfect way to teach something, and this allowed me to continuously and systematically reflect (at a very deep level) on my teaching practice.
How has it changed your teaching?
I think a lot of the decisions I make in the classroom/planning for the classroom are a lot more deliberate,and I am looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes in the day-to-day classroom activities, we lose track of the big picture. With every component in the NBCT certification process, I needed to step back and look at the big picture from a variety of lenses. NBCT forced me to self-reflect on all the decisions I make in the classroom on a daily basis and decide how they are benefiting my students. Sometimes that helped to craft a lesson into something better that improved results, and in other cases it highlighted a weakness that I need to continue to improve on.
Ms. Furman will be honored at an awards ceremony in May.
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