Teaching Blog


“I can stop talking about teaching whenever I want to,” claims educator-writer Emmet Rosenfeld, who spends much of his time—you guessed it—thinking and talking about teaching. A former English teacher at the renowned Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., Rosenfeld transitioned to a position as English teacher and Dean of Students at the Congressional Schools of Virginia in Falls Church, Va. He wrote this wide-ranging opinion blog on teaching and learning in his classroom and beyond. This blog is no longer being updated, but you can continue to explore these issues on edweek.org by visiting our related topic pages: teaching & learning.

Education Opinion It's Not You, It's Me
I know I said I could stop talking about teaching whenever I wanted to, but I never thought anybody would call me on it. Guess what? Someone did. Namely, my ever faithful editor Anthony, who has been the wind beneath my blog since I started here with “Certifiable?” in February 2006. In short, Teacher and I are breaking up.
Emmet Rosenfeld, August 1, 2009
6 min read
Education Opinion Published Bro
Last May I mentionedthat I was about to put the finishing touches on another article for the Washington Post Magazine (“Shezzed Clean,” May 7, 2009). Well, it finally dropped. “Family Finances” came out in the Financial Issue on July 19, 2007. “As brothers, they shared a birthday and Ivy League educations,” titillates the subtitle. “Then their bank accounts parted ways.”
Emmet Rosenfeld, July 22, 2009
9 min read
Education Opinion Acceptable Use
So, here’s something I never did as a teacher. Today the school’s technology specialist and I joined an audio conference about how to update our school’s acceptable use policy regarding cell phones, Facebook and iPods. In other words, she and I sat around a speakerphone and listened to a 45-minute talk about technology ethics, following along on downloaded powerpoint slides.
Emmet Rosenfeld, July 16, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion Back to School
Never thought I’d be starting a blog post with that title on Monday, June 29. But here it is, 12:28 in the AM, and once again I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with back to school jitters. Only this time, it’s summer school—sort of—and instead of teaching it, I’m running it.
Emmet Rosenfeld, June 29, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion Sandwich
Here’s some stuff I’ll remember from my Father’s Day weekend:
Emmet Rosenfeld, June 21, 2009
1 min read
Education Opinion Closing Time
I just finished teaching what may be the last English class of my career. It snuck up on me, but there it is. Next year I’m stepping out of daily teaching to focus on my role as Dean. I’ll still have plenty of contact with kids, but I won’t be the one giving homework, or making up units, or grading stacks of papers on the weekend (big tear plops down on keyboard here).
Emmet Rosenfeld, June 5, 2009
2 min read
Education Opinion Little Blue Marble
This week, two visitors from the Swedish embassy came to school in search of Climate Pilots. No, these aren’t cosmonauts soaring above the skin of earth’s atmosphere. They are households willing to reduce their carbon footprints over the next six months by altering their lifestyles in collaboration with “coaches,” families from Kalmar, Sweden who have already taken the challenge to green their day to day life.
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 29, 2009
1 min read
Education Opinion Shezzed Clean
Last night when the dishes were done, with the boys upstairs not fighting in the bath and my wife connecting with an old friend on the phone, I opened the back door to look at the rain.
Emmet Rosenfeld, May 7, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion Word Shakers
An excited group of 8th graders is a skittish beast. Believe it or not, they are capable of engaging in deep discussion with a little teacher snake oil. In fact, I think the techniques I’m about to discuss can be fruitfully applied to nearly any age or ability of student and will result in a stimulating, text-based discussion about whatever you happen to be reading together as a class.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 29, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion School in a Box
We are wrapping up preparations this week for a big event in the life of any school, our five year accreditation with SACS-CASI. Having completed a school wide look in the mirror over the past half a year which involved collecting evidence and answering questions in seven categories ranging from governance to “teaching and learning,” we will be visited by a team of three educators who will help assure that we are doing what we say we are doing.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 16, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion Trout
Caught one of theseyesterday, all alone in the rain on Big Hunting Creek outside Catoctin Mountain National Park. As a chronically hapless angler, my efforts are generally rewarded just enough to prevent me from putting all my equipment on ebay. Fortunately, during the time I wasn’t catching fish, my subconscious was hard at work thinking about Pith.
Emmet Rosenfeld, April 2, 2009
1 min read
Education Opinion Open Goals
Last weekend I went to a soccer coaching clinic and a Piagetian seminar broke out. Gary Allenis the Director of Coaching Education for the Virginia Youth Soccer Association, and has played and coached for a lifetime across every level of organized soccer. What I didn’t expect to hear from him, for the first hour of the clinic, was a discussion of psychomotor skills and stages of development. One thing he explained that everyone could understand was the slanted jump rope.
Emmet Rosenfeld, March 17, 2009
4 min read
Education Opinion ¡Hola!
Last Wednesday nearly seventy middle school students from Instituto Tepeyac, a private school in Mexico, transformed our gym into a celebration of their country and culture. Their visit was the first in what we hope will be a fruitful international partnership and an annual exchange of students. It’s also an interesting example of how some of the big trends of the 21st century—globalism, the new economy, technology— are playing out on the stage of one l’il school in Northern Virginia.
Emmet Rosenfeld, March 7, 2009
3 min read
Education Opinion Not It
Remember running after kids on the playground, tapping them under the slide with an unequivocal, “You’re it!”? Back when tag was a game, the rules were simple. Now that it’s an acronym for “talented and gifted” in my son’s school, things aren’t so clear cut.
Emmet Rosenfeld, February 22, 2009
4 min read