National Boards. Ye, gods.
The expression "biting of more than I can chew" comes instantly to mind.
For those of you not in the teaching biz, National Boards is a process akin to "super certification," a sign that the teacher in question's at the top of her game. To become an NBCT, teachers must meet rigorous standards--mostly through intensive study of their own classrooms. It involves videoing oneself (and one's students), analyzing those videos through a series of essays, and then submitting it all for peer review.
It's great professional development, but it's also incredibly nerve-wracking. There's only so much navel-gazing I can handle before I turn into an epic freak show. I'm so worried that my evaluators will confirm my worst fear: that I'm actually a horrible teacher. (Bonus worry: they'll be so distracted by my terrible taste in clothes that they won't be able to grade my videos.)
What's been really fun is having my teaching insecurities bump up against my writing insecurities. I've put off writing my essays because I fear showing them to anybody--much like the latest draft of my novel. This has made for some extreme stress!
Most candidates put in 200 to 400 hours of work in the course of their candidacy year... on top of full-time teaching responsibilities. Not to sound like a kid making homework excuses, but... this is why I haven't been working on my novel. This is why I've been a non-presence in the blogosphere.
And this is why I'm so looking forward to March 31st.
Yes, the end is in sight. Come hell or high water, my National Boards portfolio must be postmarked by midnight on March 31st. If you see a crazy lady at Kinko's/Fed Ex that night, it's probably me.
I'll be working down to the wire on this one. It's definitely time to stockpile the coffee and hunker down. Wish me luck! And while you're at it, do the same for Erin Eisenberg. She's a fellow romance writer and teacher, also suffering through the last weeks of National Boards.