February 2006 Archives

My wife thought I was lame for crashing in front of the TV every night for the past few weeks watching the winter Olympics. Little did she know I was gleaning valuable lessons as I set my sights on NBPTS gold. One lesson came while watching the replays of the men’s Super G. Big sweeping turns and the speed of the downhill combine in an event where, despite hitting speeds of 70 mph, the outcome is decided by hundredths of a second. Through the magic of digital editing, the runs of the gold and silver medalists were superimposed over ...

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? This question of cosmic choreography, long the realm of medieval rabbis and more recently of interest to Madonna, a famous celebrity convert to the strain of Jewish mysticism known as cabbalah, suddenly seems more important to me than it did before I started on the path to National Board enlightenment. You see, the National Board’s Standards alone run to about 90 pages. (These are sort of like the Ten Commandments, except there are sixteen of them, identified by Roman numerals.) Download and print the instructions for the portfolio, ...

Am I nuts? Can I do it? I am a 13-year teacher about to take on one of the toughest challenges the profession has to offer--national-board certification--and this blog will chronicle the effort. So far, I’ve been to a couple meetings of a five-session introductory class offered by Fairfax County to would-be candidates. A few steps into what they warn us may be a 600-hour journey. From a distance, the requirements look simple, like a snow-capped peak against a clear blue sky: four portfolio entries including a couple videotapes of me teaching, and a day of computer-center tests. But ...


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