Sunday, November 2, 2008

National Board Certification and Letters of Recommendation

1. It's official: I'm in for National Board Certification. I'm just doing Take One! this year.

2. I taught the Class of 2009 as 9th graders, 10th grades, and 11th graders, and, because of this, I'm writing a lot of letters of recommendation this time of year. I don't mind it, as I kind of like writing them, but they get harder and harder to make sound original as the year goes on. (That's one reason I really like writing them for my baseball players, because they end up being really different.) My most interesting dilemma this year was a young woman who asked me to write her one. I taught her for three years in a row; she didn't impress me with her work ethic last year, and, this year, her mother called me a "lying snake in the grass" because she received a failing grade in the 4th quarter. Still, she impressed me through much of her three years with me, and I'm not going visit the sins of the mother on the daughter, no matter how ridiculous her accusations are. Hers will be an interesting one to write. I try to write one every two days, because, last year, I ended up writing so many during Christmas vacation and that sucks; the deadline for most is Jan. 1. When the kids hand me the letter, I want them to give me a deadline, so that I start working on it quicker. I'm glad for Howard University, which had a Nov. 1 deadline, so I got that out in the mail yesterday and was able to scratch another one off my list.

3. Next week has to be very tight, because I have to finish Romeo and Juliet. I'm taking out a page from both Carol Jago and the Folger, realizing that it's not that the kids know every single plot detail from the play, but rather attain the skills. I'm just sort of assigning Act 4 and Act 5 as homework reading assignments while we continue to do cool things in class. We'll see how it goes. It's a truncated week, with Election Day on Tuesday (no school) and Homecoming Week culminating in the big pep rally on Friday (which will not be a totally academic day).

5 comments:

Dana Huff said...

Congratulations and best wishes as you being the National Board Certification process. It's on my list of things to do some time down the road, too, and I think a good thing for our students to have National Board Certified teachers.

Dana Huff said...

Should be "begin" rather than "being." Sorry!

Lisa said...

Congratulations on starting your National Board journey. I achieved last year, and it is one of the best professional experiences of my 20 years of teaching. From your blogging I can tell that you are very insightful about your practice, and that ability to reflect and determine what you'll do differently will be an integral part of your portfolio. Good luck to you!

Laura 2 said...

Do your students ever give you anything for your recommendations? A token gift card or a thank you? Do they know how much work you put into the letters you write for them? I recently asked my assistant principal for a recommendation for a summer program and man, he griped about writing it more than once.

Congrats on National Board! I admire the ambition.

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