Hard work pays off for new national board certified English teacher


Photo by Leslie Najera-Rivas

Language arts teacher Leslie Fireman recently became a national board certified teacher after working for over two years in the process.

By Leslie Najera-Rivas, Editor in Chief

While spending more than 70 hours on just the writing, language arts teacher Leslie Fireman became a national board certified teacher in her second year at the school. 

Teachers must prove that they have skills and reflect on their teaching to reach a certain standard and become a national board certified teacher. 

“I went into it knowing that it could be a very frustrating and lengthy process, a lot of teachers receive feedback every time a component is sent. I went in feeling very cautious, I think ultimately I knew I was going to see a process because I knew there was value going through the process,” Fireman said. 

Over 176 Illinois teachers were certified this year, other language arts teachers that are national board certified are Lauren Stewart, Jen Culbertson, and Nicole Osborne.  

“I went and checked (on the computer the day the results came out) and I was pleasantly surprised to see they sent out an email with fireworks and it said congratulations,” Fireman said. “I will admit (that) I did choke up because I wasn’t expecting it. I came to tell the news to my family (and) I felt nervous telling them because I was so excited about it.”

Language arts teachers must pass four requirements in order to become a national board certified teacher: a content test, a recording of the teacher in the class, a discussion how you teach writing, and reflection to improve. 

Fireman found out at Plainfield North through a principal announcement about the process. 

“(They) sent out an email saying they were opening up the certification process to teachers and anyone who was interested could apply,” Fireman said. 

While being a teacher, Fireman has learned to be flexible. 

“There are certainly times where I had a plan in mind for the week then I realize by Tuesday that I am going to change things up,” Fireman said. 

Although having a passion for teaching, Fireman changed majors after discovering teaching.

“I worked for more than eight years in marketing and then I realized that I didn’t enjoy marketing since I enjoyed it as a college student. But it is so easy to get burned out and realized that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing,” Fireman said.