It’s not just about the badge

I completed the EVERFI Certified Teacher Program (CTP) last year, and it has made all the difference in not just my EVERFI teaching, but my teaching skills overall. I know it’s neat to get a nifty badge to post on your social media sites when you finish a certification, but that wasn’t the prize. I’m an all-around better teacher because of this program.

What I got out of it as a teacher.

This certification program made me consider my role as an educator. Since the program asks you specific questions about how you are implementing EVERFI in your classroom, it made me reflect on my teaching. How can I best implement this curriculum? What am I doing to prepare my students to learn this material? Am I making it as easy as possible for the learning to happen? What more can I do for my students?

What I got out of it as a collaborator.

If you’re like me, you’re the only teacher in your school using EVERFI. The great thing about CTP is that it connects you with people all over the country who are also using EVERFI’s resources in their classrooms. Everyone in the program was so generous with their thoughts, ideas and responses to the online discussions. It was also a great place to share other online resources, and learn how other teachers were using EVERFI in their classrooms. Some teachers had outside speakers from banks come speak to their classes about money skills. Some teachers had graduation ceremonies at their school assemblies. We tell our students to collaborate and work in groups; we should be doing it too. We all got better because we all helped each other.

Online discussions and resources from everywhere.

Periodically throughout the six weeks, the CTP moderator would post relevant articles for us to read and discuss. Some were about the philosophy behind self-guided online learning, and others were focused on the importance of teaching financial literacy in today’s classroom. These articles would start a lively discussion every week. It wasn’t our only online discussion, but they were thought-provoking and we got to know each other a little better. I now know teachers from everywhere.

My PD on my time.

The best part of CTP is that it happened when I wanted it to. Since it was online, I could work on it at my own pace. You don’t sit in a room for a day trying to stay awake and then forget everything you learned the minute you leave. This program is over the course of six weeks, which gives you time to plan, execute, and reflect on how the course worked in your classroom. Any questions or concerns were addressed as they occurred. Instead of running into a problem and getting no support after a traditional PD day, I could ask for help, and ten teachers would respond within a few hours. I firmly believe that giving teachers time to do the work and supporting them through the process was the key to the success of the implementation.

All certification programs should be like this.

As the only tech teacher in my building, talking about technology curriculum with someone is a rare event. CTP made me feel like a part of a team. I’m now EVERFI certified because of this program, but I feel like I am so much more.
I’m proud to be their Ambassador.

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