Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Where to Start?

August 26, 2017

My anxiety shows up the minute I start to put myself back in school mode.   I am overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done in the few days I have before everyone else demands my time and attention.  I have grandiose ideas from my summer of reading and reflecting, and I want ...

One-Upping: The Worst Habit

August 26, 2017

  Summer, the sweet reward for our endless time worrying, fretting, agonizing for nine and a half months each year.   I made a list a couple of weeks ago…a list of things I need to do before school starts and I was just thinking this morning that I need to “get on it.” ...

Advocacy

August 13, 2017

Advocacy - Public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy; championing of   Medieval Latin: Advocate - summon, call to one’s aid   Leave it to Medieval Latin to answer a question I didn’t know how to ask.   What does it mean to answer a...

Rally Rally on 2-2-2…

May 14, 2017

Rally Rally on 2-2-2! Rally Rally on 2-2! I chanted my rally cry from my softball years and nobody got it. I might be a little bit of a unicorn in the English Teacher world as a jock/musician/book/writing nerd, but “whatev.” Today’s host, Nikki Smith from Urbandale High School, shared a poem b...

How to Resign from Your First Teaching Job

May 7, 2017

How to resign from your first teaching job: Make sure you have another opportunity waiting for you. Don’t just resign and hope for the best. You have to take care of yourself. First, tell your principal. You owe it to your principal to know as soon as possible so they can find their next candidate. Look a...

Accomplishment

April 30, 2017

Yesterday, at the annual face to face meeting for the ICTE Executive Board, podcast master Austin Hall took the time to ask each of us about memorable moments and accomplishments from this school year. One by one, my ICTE colleagues and friends shared moments of beauty and impact and learning that happened...

Let’s Talk About It! Facilitating Whole-Class Discussions

March 12, 2017

Students love to talk.  With a new emphasis on speaking and listening ushered in by the Common Core State Standards, teachers must learn to harness this social drive and use it to pull pull the wagon of content learning. How? Through whole-class discussions. When I was working on earning National B...

After the Dirt Falls Away

March 5, 2017

I never choose to write poetry for myself. It is a genre of writing that has always made me feel weak and vulnerable, so why would I choose to write it? Why would I put it out into the world and risk the ultimate fear: that a reader who knows better would tell me that it's not even poetry. It doe...

Education is what Remains

February 26, 2017

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” --Albert Einstein It’s the dreaded question: “When are we ever gonna use this?” This starts an exasperating conversation wherein I feel like I have to somehow argue the validity of my career and my contr...

Feed Me Better Feedback

February 19, 2017

Crimson marks bleed on my essay, as if my teacher was George R. R. Martin and this was the red wedding. The trivial letter etched on the front page somehow measured my self-worth . As I turned each page my positive writing was camouflage in the massacre of oozing red errors. Nothing was spared by the red ...

The Power of Submission

February 5, 2017

I took some risks this week as an educator, and it struck me how many of these risks had to do with submitting — proposals for presentations, applications for programs, entries for awards, and articles for publication. To move ahead in our careers as teachers we must submit to others’ consideration and judgment....

First Year Small Talk

January 29, 2017

“How’s your first year going?” a polite friend asks innocently as we stand in line for hot cider. I hate this inevitable question; it’s loaded. And this is how everyone starts a conversation with me now. I can’t really blame them, though. It’s new.  It’s what I’ve been up to lately....

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