Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Common Sense Sunset

Rex Muston, Teacher Writer
January 13, 2020

My bright focused third hour pupils tell me a check marked box is a visual representation of resolution.   Driving home I double take the sunset, pausing momentarily at high speed, caught in a whirlpool of January insight, resolved to the littlest things.   My conscious self makes a check mark similar to 137 times before in 54 years, and my psyche shrugs,...

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Fairy’s Winter Journal

Tracy Tensen, Teacher Writer
January 1, 2020

Dec. 29, 2019 It’s especially chilly today.  I don’t mind snow—it is the most lovely part of the off season, but this wind is another thing altogether.   One might think that fairies go into complete hibernation in the coldest of the months, but this is certainly not the case.  Just last week, for instance, I was in charge of the winter solstice event for the entire backyard.  All...

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20 WORDS for 2020

December 12, 2019

Iowa teacher-writers will bring 20 words to life over the next 12 months. Contributors looked ahead to 2020 and selected words to use as guides, reminders, motivators, and prayers. BREATHE is the only word submitted by two people.  Kerry Neuberger of Garner-Hayfield-Ventura said, "It is easy to get bogged down in all the papers that seem to keep coming in. (My own fault as I assign them.) At...

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Nervous…Excited…Grateful: My First Time at NCTE

Katie Voortmann, Teacher-Writer
December 9, 2019

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous as I was boarding the plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in order to go to Baltimore. After winning a travel stipend for a writing contest at Buena Vista University, my advisor recommended I go to NCTE. The first words out of her mouth were, “It’s going to be a little overwhelming, but you’ll learn SO much.” I was hoping to come back with some new...

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When I Picture My Father

Jennifer Hartwig, Teacher-Writer
November 17, 2019

When I picture my father, I picture a truck, My father stepping up and climbing in, Ready to head to the field or to deliver grain to the elevator, Or proudly opening the door for his satisfied customer to take the wheel.   When I picture my father,  I picture a tractor,  My father perched atop, Confident and comfortable like it’s his recliner,  But alert with...

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Two Poems

Rex Muston, Teacher Writer
November 4, 2019

  GOOD TO SEE SCOTT   The rotten trunk of the dead oak at the home of my children’s mother lasted longer than our marriage ever could.   Last week it gave up the ghost, falling with an imagined death rattle across the fence into Kathy’s yard.   We bonded looking at it as we sweated, and bonded as we father and sons struggled and bonded as we stopped...

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