Iowa Council of Teachers of English

The Late March Evening

The Late March Evening
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.
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.
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.
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....

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

Students at Bunger Middle School embraced the story of Timothy in
The ELA Team at Bunger Middle School in Waterloo includes Britt Jungck, Alicia Rogers and Rachel Anderson.
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
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
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...

Fairy’s Winter Journal

Tracy Tensen's garden is home to fairies.
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.
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...

20 WORDS for 2020

20 WORDS for 2020
Teacher-writers share the words that will guide them in the coming year.
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...

Nervous…Excited…Grateful: My First Time at NCTE

Katie Voortmann perches on the big green NCTE couch in Baltimore.
A pre-service teacher experiences the wonders of the #NCTE19 convention in Baltimore
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,...

When I Picture My Father

Bill Chindlund, the poet's father
-written with love by Jenni
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...

Two Poems

Rex Muston
Rex Muston transforms small episodes of parenting--removing a downed tree with his sons and weightlifting with his daughter--into slice-of-life poems that honor the subtle struggle of loving--and letting go of--teen children.
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...

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