Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Moving Beyond the Mourning

Rex Muston
May 26, 2022

I think on the lost souls of the children the lost potentials, shifted from sunny wills to cold stillness, caught student photo frozen in the last fall they laughed in.   The cancer of cowardice strikes the innocent ones, leaving a wake of gun smoke, the taste of tears, blood echoes and the constricted racking of moments, to minutes, to nullified forevers.   I have taught through...

Continue Reading
Teaching “The Odyssey” with Greek Hospitality

Emma Bireline
April 30, 2022

My English 9 class recently finished Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Students read Gareth Hind’s graphic novel as well as one book from the Fitzgerald translation. A lot (and I mean A LOT) happens in this epic poem, but one thing really interested me: As the epic hero Odysseus makes his tumultuous journey back to Ithaca, he attends several legendary feasts. Guests always received a warm welcome,...

Continue Reading
Ditch the Toolbox

Skip Olson, Teacher Writer
April 4, 2022

“Here’s another tool you can put in your toolbox.” You’ve heard it before. We’ve all heard it from other teachers, administrators, AEA presenters, college professors - the list goes on. But maybe it’s time to hear something different. English teachers: we can do better.  After all, are we not the Wardens of the Word? Saviors of the Synonyms? Masters of the Metaphor? The Thanos...

Continue Reading
I Am an Iowa Teacher

Susan Vernon, Teacher-Writer
March 5, 2022

I am an Iowa teacher. I have taught hundreds, maybe thousands of Iowa teenagers over more than two decades. I have given each of them the best I knew how to give. I have read thousands of pages to find the perfect books for reluctant readers Kids who wanted books about sports, or hunting, or dance, or outer space, or ballerinas, or monsters, or adventures, or kids who looked like...

Continue Reading
An English Teacher Speaks out Against Censorship

Jon Fisher, Teacher Writer
January 15, 2022

This essay was originally published in the Dewitt Observer on Dec. 28, 2021. As the late science fiction writer Harlan Ellison stated, “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” You hold the book you’ve never read (or remember) in one hand and “flick your BIC” with the other.  This bonfire is going...

Continue Reading
From the Teacher

Rex Muston, Teacher Writer
December 31, 2021

FROM THE TEACHER   It is my hope for you amidst the down time away from school, your heart is lifted up, lofted toward a greater wholeness.   It is my hope for you amidst the seasonal scents  carols, and ringing bells, your mind is quieted, comforted in a refocused calm.   It is my hope for you amidst the pomp and packaging, hectic scurrying...

Continue Reading
Activate Search
Teacher Writings