Monday, November 25, 2013


I think we can all come together around this one likes failure.
Not even contrarians or masochists can make a compelling case that the sensation of inadequacy is enjoyable.  I felt this very sensation on Saturday when I woke up early to check the National Board Teaching Certification results.  All last school year I worked on my portfolio, all spring I studied for the test.  I took it in June and the results were supposed to be posted this week.  They were. I failed.  

It felt like a baseball bat swung at my stomach.  I wanted a chance to defend myself, to prove my competency as a teacher, but I suppose that is what the assessment is for in the first place and my defense was found wanting.  

Still, I am a never say die sort of person so I keep thinking that if the panel of assessors knew my circumstances they would have been a little more impressed.  Aren’t there points that could be awarded for compiling this 400 page portfolio during a scary and difficult pregnancy?  I went to my final portfolio review while in labor.  Can we get some sort of curve considering I took the standardized test a mere 2 months after my baby girl was born.  How about some credit for hard work?  I put in innumerable hours working on this; hours  stolen from sleeping or showering or even at times, eating.  
So come on NBCT, cut me a break.  

But for as much as I want to fight it, none of those things prove that I’m a good teacher.
And this failure has brought me face to face with the reality that I do not inherently deserve success or reward.  

Hard work and pain don’t always equal gain.  

This hurts because it shakes the very core of my protestant work ethic.  
What should I have done differently?   If I can’t pull it together and pass a stupid test what can I do?  Who can I trust to come through in tough times if not myself?  

To retake the assessment is a mere $1,057 but a thousand dollars is a small price to pay to remind me that who I am is not dependent upon what I do.  And those 20 overall points I need to become a Nationally Certified Teacher will not ensure inner bliss and fulfillment.  

So here is how I see it:
(Well, actually this is how a super good friend of mind told me to look at it, and it has made all the difference.)  

Creation- God made me.  He made me with a passion to teach and to read and to write.  He made me a little bit like him with the ability to love and to feel. 

Fall- But, I mess up.  All. The. Time.  I fail tests, I lose important paperwork, I get frustrated and give up. I hurt people that I should be helping.

* Here is where I am right now!~

Redemption- I can’t make it right.  I can’t explain my way out, I can’t just pay the $1,000 and feel better.  Someone has to come to the rescue...some people wait for their inner selves, some for knights in shining, I’m a big screw up so I am waiting for God himself to come make it right.  (And he has, believe it or not.)

Restoration- Failure makes me eager for the day when all wrongs are made right.  All tears are wiped away.  It’s probably not today, or tomorrow...but I believe in heaven, so even if it takes my whole life, I know at the end of the road there is a there is Someone, the only person I can wholly and completely trust who will look at me and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into my rest.”  

So, yeah... I’ll take an eternity of joy over an NBTC stamp of approval any day.  

1 comment:

  1. Love you! That test doesn't know who you really are! I know I'm a better teacher because of you and so many students are better off because of you, so thank you!