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A Visit from Saint Nbpts


Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a teacher was stirring
Not to grade or to grouse

The folders were stacked
By the desktop with care
In hopes they’d be graded
As if I were there

The students at home
Must be snug in their beds
Independent variables
Dance in their heads

My wife with her vacuum
And me with my blog
Get set for the onslaught
Of sisters and dog

Once all were asleep
There arose such a ruckus
What could it be that
Had up upon snuck us

Away from my door
A green elf was fleeing
He’d left me a box
“For your NBCTin’...”

The box, it was blue
And filled with four entries
And videotapes
And reflection a plenty

Santa’s been busy
I saw with a flash
Observing the naughty
And nice in my class

The strange thing about it
The entries were mine
About blogs and canoes
And computer lab time

They were all done up neat
Size 12 font, headings placed
The forms were complete
Bits of standards bold-faced.

As I stood on my porch
With the box in my mitts
A chill ran up my spine
Santa really exists!

But quick as I read
How, I don’t understand
All that student achievement
Disappeared in my hand.

Like icicles melting
Or a watch’s tick tocks
Each page disappeared
From the soggy blue box.

I was left holding nothing
But thoughts in my head
Of how I’d been finished
But I wasn’t, instead.

It didn’t defeat me,
This vision of June
Instead it reheated
My desire to bloom.

Quick to the ‘puter
I flew like a flash
Clicked open a browser
Logging on real fast

Google was festive
Yes I had mail
But I wasn’t distracted
I’d now seen the Grail.

I started typing
Didn’t go back to bed
Awoke with the keyboard
Against my forehead.

There at the printer
The sheets black and white
Two entries were done
And they wouldn’t take flight

Okay, I dreamed it
I was NBC-free
But if I’m good I will finish
Both entries this week.


Emmet: I discovered your blog today as I was doing research for/procrastinating working on entry 3 of the EA ELA certificate. As others have commented, it's comforting to realize that I'm not alone in what I'm going through. I'm also hoping to complete 2 entries during my vacation (I get 2 more weeks).

As for your musings on entry 4 - I think you can interpret "impact on student learning" rather broadly. Look at page 16 in The Bible. The 1st core proposition seems to be saying that stuff like, "development of character, aspiration, and civic virtue," are part of learning. Also, page 136 says, "Impact on student learning is meant in a broad sense."

Finally, my current theory on this whole process is that the 1/3 that pass the first time are REALLY good at slogging through these insanely picky instructions, and not necessarily the best teachers. Take entry 1 for example. You can't use any assignment that was from a unit that you videotaped. You need to show they can read by having them respond to something that they didn't read. The students can be from 2 different classes. I've yet to figure out if an entry 4 accomplishment can overlap with entry 1 student work, or if kids writing on a wiki is a "non-text" response. Imagine all the possibilities for not following the rules.

Some comments from the peanut gallery: I read a recent statistic that said 50 % of the applicants pass the first time. I had heard it was 30%, but that never really affected me. I knew I would eventually get it. Also, my mentoring group helped me to visualize my doc.acc. portfolio by asking me to picture a triangle. Divide it in thirds. The top third is the description, the middle third is analysis and the bottom (the largest part) was for the impact on student learning. It worked for me. I just got my NBC for ELA/Ad.& Youth. I was estatic that I passed the first time. Have faith in the process. It IS tricky to navigate the directions. Who said "If it doesn't kill us, it just makes us stronger"? Best wishes. Keep writing!

Hi, Emmet. Thank you for the fun poem; you are a very talented writer. I have gotten some of Entry 4 done during Christmas. Your blog is the only distraction I allow myself during NBPTS computer time, and it has become my saving grace. I'm oscilatting between hopefulness and hopelessness during my worktimes. Your blog really makes me smile. Congratulations, Brenda. I appreciate your triangle suggestion. I think it will help. Thank you. Happy (working) Christmas.

EMMET, Wow! Congratulations for finishing your entries this early. Hope we make it, good luck to us. I am a candidate too for Exceptional Needs Specialist. This is going to be my 4th year in teaching here in the US (I'm originally from the Philippines), I'm still a rookie. I am also a blogger: http://teachersol.blogspot.com

BRENDA, Thanks for the tip. I will remember that.

Hi Emmet,
Great to know that I am not alone. I, too, am working hard trying to finish entry 4 before school stars again. After a bout of depression about my score this last time around (271) I am now getting down to work on #4. Whatever the key is to unlocking the secrets of this entry, I intend to find. Thank you for a touch of merriment to further make me forget my past score and get to work

I am JUST beginning this entire process, everyone! Your comments have already helped me so much....now for my entry #4......I just don't get what "counts" and what doesn't! I have also taught a very long time, and some of my biggest accomplishments
were made more than 5 years ago. Can you give me some examples of what you included? Thank you so much....I'm on my own here at my school!

Wow... maybe if you'd put as much effort into preparing your boards as you did rewriting Christmas stories, you might have passed the first time.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Nate: Wow... maybe if you'd put as much effort into preparing read more
  • Jane: I am JUST beginning this entire process, everyone! Your comments read more
  • Jean, Washington,DC: Hi Emmet, Great to know that I am not alone. read more
  • Maria A. Washington DC: EMMET, Wow! Congratulations for finishing your entries this early. Hope read more
  • Beth from VB: Hi, Emmet. Thank you for the fun poem; you are read more




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