Teacher Preparation Blog

Certifiable?

Emmet Rosenfeld is an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. He has 13 years of experience as a teacher and writer. In this opinion blog, he is chronicling his experiences as he works toward certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. (Certifiable? ceased publishing in June 2007.)

Education Opinion I Have Been to the Mountain
Crushed it.
It’s 11:44 am on Monday, June 4, 2007, and I am done, baby. Flying high. I feel so good after speed-typing through six half hour essays that I’m sitting at my keyboard in the man zone to write a seventh, just to capture the moment. After a year plus of what has at times felt like biblical agony, I planted my flag in the summit this morning. And now I can truly say, I have been to the mountain.
Emmet Rosenfeld, June 4, 2007
4 min read
Education Opinion Clear and Convincing
The big day is Monday. Casting about for ways to prepare the weekend before, I decided to do another one of Patrick Ledesma’s tri-pane practice prompts. My two-year old son, who was supposed to be napping upstairs, woke up when I was six minutes into it. I made it back to the keyboard an hour or two later and forced myself to finish, but had lost my mojo. In reviewing, I realized that the only thing my practice essay presented clear and convincing evidence of was that I could type 370 words in approximately thirty minutes.
Emmet Rosenfeld, June 2, 2007
5 min read
Education Opinion A Little Help from My Friends
Monday, June 4. Hopefully it won’t live in infamy. It is, however, the day I will take the big test. To continue preparing, I reviewed the comments colleagues have left on this blog or by email. I figured you might want to check them out, too, so they’re copied below. More words of wisdom welcome.
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 25, 2007
6 min read
Education Opinion Peering Out the Window
On this beauteous spring day, I’m sitting here in the man zone (my basement office), looking up through a casement window at a bird’s nest in the eaves of my neighbor’s roof. I’m thinking about... well, you know. The testing window is open until June 15. I have to figure out when to shimmy through before it slams shut. I’m having a hard time getting psyched to go do it-- I wonder if anyone else out there is feeling the same sense of ennui?
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 19, 2007
2 min read
Education Opinion Canews Flash
Let me set test prep aside to share some exciting news. The dugout canoe that my 10th graders have been working on all year is about to hit the water: we launch from the banks of Mount Vernon at 10 am on May 30. As well as being the centerpiece of our Humanities curriculum, loyal readers will recall that the canoe was a big part of Entry 4 in my portfolio. Most recently, I mentioned a spring break overnight where we cooked cobbler in dutch ovens on The Flaming Canoe as students scraped away with sharpened oyster shells (April 8,2007).
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 11, 2007
1 min read
Education Opinion Painting a Fence
I tried a practice prompt. On the advice of my loyal entry reader, Stephanie, I chose one related to English Language Learners. Those are the trickiest, she warns.
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 4, 2007
3 min read
Education Opinion Exercises
The final test consists of six essay questions, a half hour for each. That’s three hours of intense concentration at the keyboard. I’m going to have to get in shape to tackle this.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 27, 2007
3 min read
Federal Opinion A Student Left Behind
I promised to write about the released test questions this week, but like for everyone around here, banal concerns have been washed away in the swirling wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 22, 2007
1 min read
Education Opinion The Final Test
I have nearly scaled the mountain. Last spring, from a distance, it looked imposing and majestic. After a more arduous approach to the base than anticipated, and then a harrowing series of ascents, only the exposed final pitch remains. (Note to the casual visitor: This will read a lot better if you check out my very first post, and if you’ve read Into Thin Air by John Krakauer). After two weeks in the tent, subsisting on power bars and boiled snow, I venture from my cocoon. Empty oxygen containers and the occasional frozen corpse litter the landscape…
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 15, 2007
2 min read
Education Opinion The Flaming Canoe
Or, Spring Break's Sprung.
Nearly a month ago, I wrote about putting one foot in front of the other as I trudged through Entry One ("Day by Day", March 10). Here is another week-in-the-life now that I’m done with the portfolio, to show how much lighter my step has become. While there’s not much about National Board per se, Tuesday’s overnight trip was a memorable stage in the canoe project I wrote about for Entry Four.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 8, 2007
1 min read
Education Opinion An Education Problem
My name is Emmet and I’m an eduholic.
I hit rock bottom last night between the hours of 1:30 and 2:45 am when I found myself sitting up in bed scribbling about education policy in a little black notebook by penlight next to my soundly sleeping son.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 2, 2007
2 min read
Education Opinion Let the Healing Begin
I’m done. Certified, stick a fork in me, mail that sucker off with every kind of insurance the post office has to offer… Finito. If I were a more high tech guy, this entry would merely consist of a grainy self-portrait taken at arm’s length with my cell phone camera, depicting a haggard shell of a man clutching a blue box packing-taped to oblivion. And a sound file with the Hallelujah chorus.
Emmet Rosenfeld, March 25, 2007
1 min read
Education Opinion Picking Nits
I took another day off from actual teaching last week to work on the portfolio, and it is nearly in finished form. By “almost” I mean all the entries are in individual manila folders with a litter of yellow sticky notes attached to parts that need attention. I am now in the process of un-stickying. When it’s all sticky-free I can box, send, and drink.
Emmet Rosenfeld, March 18, 2007
2 min read
Education Opinion Day by Day
Saturday
Forgot I signed up for a conference at GMU and almost don't go (the looming portfolio deadline is a handy excuse). I compromise and just hit the keynote speaker, Kelly Gallagher, super teacher and author of Deeper Reading and Challenging Adolescent Writers. He wears a black sweater, has intense blue eyes, and focuses like a laser on learning. Hearing him is a shot in the arm, as these things are, once one drags one’s butt to them. His ideas echo in my head all week.
Emmet Rosenfeld, March 10, 2007
2 min read