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. I thought that once the portfolio was signed, sealed and delivered that these middle of the night sessions would be over, but I can see now that I was deceiving myself. If it’s not National Board that’s got me spinning, it’s that kid from second period who ...


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. I will not even try, at this moment, to assess the long-term impact of this process on my teaching. For now, I simply want to reclaim ...


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. An unexpected favorite part was drawing diagrams of the classrooms to go with the video tapes. A part I still haven’t done yet is to attach typed descriptions to the evidence (assignment sheets, ...


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. Sunday Start writing Entry 1 in the morning and don’t stop until ...


This week for our support class, instead of meeting at the high school we had to post responses to three threads and comment on others’ posts. Below are the questions and my responses. I don't think, by the way, that mine are entirely representative. Many of my classmates seem more positive about the experience. I'm not sure if I'm being too honest, or just tired. Either way, I find it hard to revel in the experience at this point. I'm just looking down at the trail, putting one foot in front of the other as I try to shift the ...


I’m frustrated with myself over the choice of student work for Entry 1 but because I’ve already started the write ups (and also because it’s such a hassle to collect the stuff) I’m hesitant to change now. Neither the ticking clock nor these hoop burns are helping. I like both students fine, but in seeking to use certain assignments that I know show a lot of growth, I’ve painted myself into a corner in regards to using others. For example, I need a response to a non-print text from the ninth grader in written form, ...


The end of an unexpected 6-day weekend is approaching, and the snow and ice that closed school has also put a freeze on my ability to slog ahead on Entry One. Bored with boredom, this morning at last I forced myself to the keyboard to write about work samples I’ve selected for use in my final portfolio entry. “Making Good Choices” is the slightly paternalistic title given to the section in the bible offering advice on which assignments to select. It’s true, though, that my dilly-dallying on this entry is because I found it hard to choose only ...


To begin an entry, I make a template by retyping directly from the bible the sections and the questions listed under “Composing My Written Commentary.” Gluttons for minutiae may see one below (if you’re certifying in EA/ELA consider it my gift to you for being a loyal reader). I’m nervous that the template alone for Entry One runs to 3 pages. The entry itself, when completed, should be no more than 13, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room given that I have to write about 4 assignments for two students each (when I was ...


I am writing this while standing up. It’s 9:20 pm and I am at a computer in a lectern in Room 127A at the community college where I teach a freshman comp class two nights a week. I am not lecturing—the part where I talk is done for tonight. But the classroom is buzzing with voices. It’s a writer’s workshop. Six tables of adult students are reading drafts of their personal narratives to one another in our first formal workshop. And, as usual, the magic happens. A guy with a gold tooth and bad lungs ...


When I got home from work on January 23, there was an open letter on the table near the door. From NBPTS and dated January 9, it said I hadn’t submitted the required forms to confirm my eligibility. If I didn’t do so by January 31, I was out of luck. As in, not a candidate this year. My first response, of course, was to yell toward the kitchen, in the general direction of my wife: “Didn’t you SEE this? This is serious! (yadda, yadda, yadda).” She calmly explained that she’d only opened it earlier that ...


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