Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Doing More with Less

Deneen Nelson, Teacher Writer
July 20, 2021

More than once, I’ve questioned my role in the profession I love on account of essays. They suppress my ability to relax, a constant weight hanging over my head that I can never seem to escape. While I haven’t reduced my essay load over the years, I have encountered strategies that allow me to do more with less – less stress and less time away from my family. STRATEGY 1: Student Reflection on...

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You Don’t Always Have to Choose

Karl Baresel, Teacher Writer
July 13, 2021

A teacher mentor once told me that in the difficult  days of teaching, specifically January through March, it can be a  good idea to write daily in a journal about the positive things going on in the classroom. I have done this off and on during my teaching career, recording the engaging lesson plans, fun interactions with students,and moments of happiness in my school day. My mentor could not have...

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Three Poems

Barb Edler, Teacher-Writer
June 30, 2021

Breastfeeding Today a cardinal blazes by Lands at the table feeder; begins to eat most happily   I never knew I loved the birds   Until the birds Were all that were Left to see   I never knew how much I’d miss   Raising children until my sons were grown and gone   I never knew how much I’d miss   The games they...

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A Hug and a Kiss

Kim Van Es, Teacher-Writer
June 15, 2021

In the last four years, I have experienced the joy of grandparenting: all the fun with little of the poop (in all senses of that word). Since my granddaughters live in my town, I typically take them for a couple hours at a time--entertain them with books and scavenger hunts and pretend scenarios (it’s been the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, and Max for a couple months now), then return them totally worn...

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Of Cows and Curses

Jon Fisher, Teacher Writer
June 5, 2021

They say you never forget your first time. Mine was so painfully embarrassing that it’s difficult to write about. In the interest of transparency, I need to explain that I'm writing about my first professional interview. Ten years ago, I owned a gray '88 Buick LeSabre and it was perfect for tooling around Iowa City. It guzzled gasoline on the highways but felt like some sort of ancient sea vessel....

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Graduate Experience

Skip Olson, English Teacher
May 13, 2021

When Lauren approached me about writing about my graduate experience, I thought, much like I’m thinking now, “How exactly am I going to do this?” But, I agreed and here we are. I struggled with a focus: I didn’t want it to be all sunshine and rainbows (it wasn’t), but I didn’t want it to be 800 words of my bitter bitching about isolated events (I’ll save that for my tell-all memoir)....

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