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A Qualitative Study of Three National Board Certified Teachers' Career Paths, Post-NBCT Certification Open Access

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A Qualitative Study of Three Virginia National Board Certified Teachers' Career Paths, Post-NBCT CertificationIn this qualitative study, I analyzed the career paths of three Virginia National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), post-NBCT certification. The three NBCTs worked in the same small, urban school district that employed four NBCTs. Two NBCTs in this study held the certification since 2006; one NBCT held the certification since 2007. The qualitative study was bound by time, setting, and events. The study took place in the spring and fall of 2010, in each NBCT's professional environment, and with the NBCT's professional context.I applied Patton and McMahon's (2006) Systems Theory Framework (STF) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' (NBPTS, 2002) the Five Core Propositions to examine themes and propositions that emerged in NBCTs' career path decision-making and career paths. The STF (Patton & McMahon, 2006) encompasses a theoretical framework of both content and process influences that may affect an individual's career development. I studied which, if any, themes, including individual, contextual, social, and environmental-societal in relation to recursiveness, time, and chance, emerged as influences when NBCTs discussed career paths. The Five Core Propositions of the NBPTS (2002) define the characteristics that National Board Certification recognizes in a NBCT's professional practice. I researched whether these propositions (NBPTS, 2002) emerged in NBCTs' discussions of career paths, post-NBCT certification, to find out if NBCTs continued to demonstrate these propositions while they held the ten-year certificate or if these propositions, which served as an assessment criteria, only were present in NBCTs' practices when they attempted National Board Candidacy (NBPTS, 2002). I incorporated interviews, observations, document analysis, and unstructured visits for data collection and analysis. Findings showed all three NBCTs entered National Board candidacy while employed in this school division and then remained in the same school division, in the same professional position, post-NBCT certification. Themes from the STF (Patton & McMahon, 2006) and The Five Core Propositions (NBPTS, 2002) emerged as influences when NBCTs discussed career paths. It was noteworthy that each NBCT's perception of factors that influenced career progression, post-NBCT certification, were unique to the individual but were supported by the content and process influences of the STF (Patton & McMahon, 2006).

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