Just googling the image of this box gave me kind of an ill feeling. The terror, the feeling like I was taking a shot in the dark, the waiting, the exposure. Teachers who take on the challenge of measuring their practice by gathering evidence and writing a massive thesis on top of their daily teaching load are the kind of teachers I want to work with and have teach my daughters. Why? Because they're tough, they take risks, and they're not afraid to try and fail.
Two years ago my neighbor and friend climbed Rainier. There's a great picture of him standing on top, wearing his three-year old daughter's tutu because of course, even on top of Rainier she was on his mind. He thought he could do it, he thought it was worth doing, and he did it.
Earning your National Boards is like that. You've got the day in and day out evidence that you're doing a pretty good job. You're trying to do a good job. And then you decide you might successfully measure your teaching up against a rigorous set of national standards. You think you can get certified, you think it's worth doing, and you do it.
And, like climbing Rainier, it's not easy. You might not even summit your first time. And if you summit someone might shoot down your accomplishment, saying that research shows NB Certification doesn't necessarily increase test scores, saying anyone can climb Rainier if you pay the right guide.
But if you've loaded that box up with your best shot, and if you've put on your crampons and tutu and climbed Rainier, you've done something not everyone will or can do, just because you thought it was worth the pain and the effort to try. Just because you had the guts to see if you could.