Iowa Council of Teachers of English

‘Classic American Scene’ and Other Verses

‘Classic American Scene’ and Other Verses

May 20, 2018

Classic American Scene                                             after Louis Simpson It’s a classic American scene— snow is dusting the lawns surrounding the public high school. Students skid into the parking lots and randomly land their ha...

Day 1 Devotional

Day 1 Devotional

May 13, 2018

Day 1 Listen James 1:19-21  “You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implant...

The NCTE Doublespeak Award

The NCTE Doublespeak Award

May 6, 2018

I first heard of the Doublespeak Award in an applied linguistics class at UNI. The award, developed by the NCTE Public Language Committee in 1974, is “an ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered.” ...

Memoir: Toward the Teacher I Want to Be

Memoir: Toward the Teacher I Want to Be

April 29, 2018

“Kenna, will you tutor this student in biology?” Music to an aspiring teacher’s ears! Excited to feel needed, my head spun with so many plans for worksheets and flashcards and quizzes and games. The possibilities were endless and so was my enthusiasm. This particular student, adopted from Sierra...

February 15th, 2018 (A Poem)

February 15th, 2018 (A Poem)

April 22, 2018

February 15th, 2018 Today I traced letters into my cheek tested their warmth bit around their edges and held them on my tongue until they grew soft and quiet I wanted my students to hear wildflowers or telescopes or a promise that all of this was not us That our axis was Sunday potlucks Main...

Two Empty Chairs: A Poem

Two Empty Chairs: A Poem

April 16, 2018

Two Empty Chairs We waited, saving the last two chairs for them Small talking about bleacher-friend days Asking the catch-up question, “What’s new?” It wasn’t unusual, that these two would come late. She would often stop to greet some long-unseen friend. He’d stop beside with his cari...

My Tía’s Redención, A Lyric Poem

My Tía’s Redención, A Lyric Poem

April 9, 2018

My Tía’s Redención, A Lyric Poem Click, click, click. Medium blue flames licked the bottom of the cellophane-flaking, greased stained pan. Raw white sopes lovingly slid into crackling oil, never measured, perfectly patted into form; she gracefully dragged queso fresco up and down, each clump fa...

Firing Up for the Fall Conference

Firing Up for the Fall Conference

April 8, 2018

By Nikki Smith and Kirstey Ewald, ICTE Fall Conference Chairs ICTE’s annual conference has always felt like coming home. It hits at the perfect time of the school year as teachers are just starting to lose the beginning-of-the-year excitement. We know it rejuvenates us with new ideas and practices ...

No One Owned the Hour: A Poem

No One Owned the Hour: A Poem

April 2, 2018

No One Owned The Hour --for Heather Heyer no one owned the hour no one saw the land turn into water or the sky offer its light to the last door of morning no one remembered when men & women forgot what it was to be men & women who remembered that time was before memory & befo...

Short Story: A Seed of Hope

Short Story: A Seed of Hope

March 25, 2018

A Seed of Hope “Ruby? Is that you?” Mrs. Mertens asked as she poked her head out of the trailer next door.   “Yes, Mrs. Mertens,” Ruby replied. “Good morning.” “Them mums are sure lookin’ perty!” she continued, as she clutched her plaid robe around her thin shoulders.   “Thank...

Year One, Part Two

Year One, Part Two

March 18, 2018

I’m drawn back to the aromas of deli platters and the sounds of dice crawling on the table for the game. I’m reminded of the warm, parting hugs from my coworkers that became my second family. I’m reminded of the words my work “big brother” Andrew told me the night before I left my hometown...

Short Story: A Slice of Pi

Short Story: A Slice of Pi

March 4, 2018

A Slice of Pi Once again, Charles walked away from a grave site alone.  He turned one last time to view the casket, draped in the circular spray of flowers.  The last of the family and friends scattered toward their cars, some heading back to the church.  But Charles was not headed to the church...

We facilitate deep connections & professional learning for ELA teachers.
Teacher Writings