Iowa Council of Teachers of English

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...

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

Meltdown in Aisle Three

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...

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...

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...

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...

The Oasis

The Oasis

We're so far removed from the physical classroom at this point in time, but Brenna Griffin invites us to look back on what is usually the hardest part of the year: February.
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...



The writer's lesson from childhood informs her attitude toward giving in the time of Covid-19.
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...

A Glittering Pause

A Glittering Pause

Sometimes the pause is everything.
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....

Students at Bunger Middle School embraced the story of Timothy in

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

The ELA Team at Bunger Middle School in Waterloo includes Britt Jungck, Alicia Rogers and Rachel Anderson.
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...

Standardized Is the Antithesis of Creative

Standardized Is the Antithesis of Creative

JoAnn Gage, Teacher Writer January 31, 2020

When I go out to eat at the Olive Garden, I know exactly what to expect. The menu and decor are standard and successful, and cooks there are able to follow a recipe to create the same dishes in every branch...


Common Sense Sunset

a January poem
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...

Tracy Tensen's garden is home to fairies.

Fairy’s Winter Journal

The fairy who lives in Tracy Tensen's backyard occasionally leaves her journal entries in such obvious places Tracy can't help but assume the fairy wants her to find them.
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...

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