Tina Cowsert is one of six Champaign teachers now recognized as National Board Certified teachers for this school year.
She says earning that honor is the hardest thing she's ever done.
In a 3rd grade classroom at Carrie Busey Elementary School, it's all about making sure the students are learning.
But this year, Tina Cowsert got a lesson of her own.
"It was the hardest year of my life," she says.
She decided she wanted to become a National Board Certified teacher.
It's a long rigorous process that includes nit-picking yourself.
"Part of it is where you have to video record yourself teaching in the classroom and then you have to take that video recording, break it down, you have to analyze everything and essentially prove how your children are learning in the classroom," Cowsert explains.
Cowsert is one of just over 100,000 teachers with this certification. Nation wide, only about 3% of the country's teaching force have the certification.
While this honor marks her as one of the elite in the teaching profession, it's her passion for the job that makes her truly stand out.
"It's one of those things I know I was born to do. I love working with kids, I love seeing the light bulb go off on their faces, I love with they interact with me and I do a lot of that type of teaching," says Cowsert.
In all, forty-eight teachers and school psychologists in the Unit 4 district have earned the honor.