Iowa Council of Teachers of English

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...

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...

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...

Socratic Circles in the Classroom

January 22, 2017

The students in my ninth grade class are seated in two circles. The inside circle of students in chairs is involved in a heated discussion of who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. They...

Managing the Beehive

January 15, 2017

Andrew's hand wrapped tight around mine. "Your internal dialogue is like a beehive tonight." I took rapid breaths in and focused on the pancakes in front of me. "There is so much coming and...


January 8, 2017

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 9, after staying up late to watch the election results, I poured myself a cup of coffee and thought about my upcoming day. I was well-aware that walking...

10,000 Steps

December 18, 2016

I used to live in my own little corner of the world.  Or school.     In a small district, when one teaches 9th grade English/Language Arts, she is the only 9th grade English/Language Arts...

Where Do We Go From Here?

December 10, 2016

To My Favorite Visionaries—Language Arts Teachers!   I am so grateful for your vision, for your passion, for your ongoing commitment to kids.  Teachers more than any other group of people...

A Way Forward

December 4, 2016

It has been a challenging few weeks.  My school community has felt emotionally wrung out.  A fourteen-year-old student was shot at random and lost his life.  Our former SRO was killed in a grisly...

Being an Introvert and a Teacher

November 27, 2016

I am an introvert.   I am so intensely introverted that I have made the decision as a 27-year-old to continue living with my mother because I know that if I were to live by myself, I could...

Igniting a Fire

November 20, 2016

The power of speech--not only for the student but the teacher also. The things I learn about my kids and the connections I make are priceless.... I didn't have much hope for him.   I listened...

Book Love Elective Is a Hit Among Students

Dowling High School English Teacher Austin Hall poses with the books he received from the Book Love grant.
November 13, 2016

By JoAnn Gage Austin Hall said reading Book Love, Penny Kittle’s text for teachers offering insight to cultivating a passion for reading among adolescents, shaped him as a teacher. “I fell...

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