Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Two Poems: “The Family Farm” and “Students”

Jan Luton, Teacher Writer
August 15, 2019

The Family Farm A place of tranquility    cradled in the country. A nurturing nest    that houses good beginnings. A chameleon patch in a quilt   with seasonal changes. An entertainment   with business of production. A checkerboard of seasons   white, brown, green and gold. A grocery sack    that suppers the table of man. A place to rest.   Students Students...

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Practice What You Preach: Start with Brainstorming

Jennifer Hartwig, Contributing Writer
July 31, 2019

I try my best to practice what I preach - as a mother, a Christian, a teacher. This summer, in fact, I had every intention of practicing what I preach - or in this case teach: writing. My writing was going to work in tandem with my 30+ year family photo collection which I was going to organize into an iPhoto book in which I would then write sweet, humorous narratives to memorialize the childhoods...

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The Fifth Chair Flute

May 26, 2019

I was not a great flautist, but I loved band for the music that was attempted, for the camaraderie the attempt instilled, and for the friends that resulted. This is a story about the friend I did not make…. Not even that… This is a story about the absence of a friend I never made. Early in the fall of 1975, I was a sophomore in high school band and eager not to be last chair flute. Second...

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Do You Have Anything to Read Besides Gary Paulsen?

May 12, 2019

One of the biggest hurdles I faced in my first year of teaching in a small rural high school was finding books that reflected the lives of my students who spent most of their time farming or hunting. They’d burned through Gary Paulsen at a young age, and had tried or had read every other book from the section of the library geared toward outdoor life. For many of them, their reading lives had grown...

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Three Poems: “Glowing From Within,”  “She Continued,” and “The Boundary Waters”

April 28, 2019

Glowing from WithinBy Karen Kayser-Kemp Ambers glow from the warmth within.The burning light draws me inTo the secrets hidden in my soulBeneath my breast, ready to unfold. A fire’s purpose is not to burnOnly warm and sooth, in turn,Those who place their feet near the ringJust wishing for some comforting. Smoke occasionally billows in the eyes,Drawing tears and coughs and some surprise.Like careless...

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I Spy with my Little Eye…

April 14, 2019

A Short Story I heard something the other day about flies: As soon as they land on food, they lay maggots. I’d always thought it was like the five-second rule, you had a few seconds to shoo them away. It’s gross either way, but especially so as there's a good chance some of those maggots found their way into my stomach. But then, two nights ago, as I did my nightly routine, taking...

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