Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Joyful Haikus

Joyful Haikus

September 16, 2020


Two Poems

Still Together

Rex Muston, Teacher Writer

July 27, 2020

Poem 1 FEELING PRAYERS My fears are unimpressive, spilling over from an asthmatic childhood after bedtimes, some 50 years gone.   But they are persistent,  constricting my chest, and snagging my brain like a yanked treble hook.   I hold the hand of what-ifs like Ebenezer...



Kim Van Es, Teacher Writer

June 30, 2020

A Teacher’s Encounters with Difference   For teachers just like everyone else, there is a process to getting woke, especially when it comes to understanding the role of skin color in America.   Clip 1: Growing up in a NW Iowa county that was 97% white, my perceptions of people of co...

Mr. K

Mr. K

Lauren Stephens, Teacher Writer

June 11, 2020

Mr. K The morning after your funeral, I walked past your classroom and stood in the doorway to take in how much of you filled every corner. Photos of your wife your infant daughter Cubs memorabilia Lambeau souvenirs fantasy brackets still pinned to a bulletin board ...

Meltdown in Aisle Three

Hy-Vee, like many other grocery stores, began selling individually wrapped toilet paper once it was back in stock.

Barb Edler, Teacher Writer

May 22, 2020

In Aisle Three At  Hy-Vee I have a meltdown Shelves literally wiped clean No juice, no milk, no sardines There’s barely any meat Except where the butchers work I ask about an advertised sale on New York strips I thought they had They do, they’re just not marked I ask for four The bu...

Teacher Appreciation Week: I See You

Teacher Appreciation Week: I See You

Nikki Smith, Teacher Writer

May 9, 2020

I see you. I see you worrying about if your students' basic needs are met.  I see you creating brand new lessons and resources overnight to help students understand the curriculum.  I see you calling and emailing students and parents to make connections, check-in.  I see you adapting to the ever-cha...


Lily from the garden of Kathleen Johnson, Iowa fresh flower farmer.

Tracy Tensen, Teacher Writer

May 3, 2020

With a shake of the head she says neither of us should be there. Then we hear the world take a breath. We answer with one of our own.  One of our potentially toxic breaths. And we accidentally touch our eyes and forget not to rub our noses. Should I have touched the handle of the cart? ...

The Late March Evening

The Late March Evening

Rex Muston, Teacher Writer

April 23, 2020

The Late March Evening   The man he plays is pensive, regretting the grays of reflection in the bathroom mirror.   The man he plays is penitent, moving slowly today, aching in joints from drink that made him wobble.   The man he plays is charged, driven by Doug and L...

The Oasis

The Oasis

Brenna Griffin, Teacher Writer

April 16, 2020

“The desert is dry and hot,” the woman in the suit proclaims at the front of the library. It is my first year of teaching at Callanan Middle School. I am all wide eyes and optimism; plus, my self-selected mentor teacher has helped me set the expectation that I can always take away one good thing...



Teresa Lawler, Teacher Writer

March 24, 2020

Marie Kondo has people around the world cleaning out closets and emptying bookshelves. As part of the purging process, cleaners ask themselves, “Does this item bring me joy?” I learned nearly fifty years ago about the ramifications for the giver and receiver when an item fails to meet this standar...

A Glittering Pause

A Glittering Pause

Haley Moehlis

March 14, 2020

It was the first stretch of quiet I’d had all Winter Break. I was relishing the alone time upstairs. The baby was napping. The oldest two were playing with friends outside. And Milo was quiet. Too quiet. The kind of quiet that spells disaster. I wanted to savor the quiet, but I knew (as every parent does) t...

“Breaking Out” with House Arrest by K.A. Holt

Students at Bunger Middle School embraced the story of Timothy in

Britt Jungck, Teacher Writer

February 29, 2020

Something beautiful happens when you feel backed into a have nowhere to go but out. This fall, three teachers at Bunger Middle School experienced this phenomena and decided to embrace its power, instead of wallow in the powerlessness that can often plague our profession.   During a...

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