Iowa Council of Teachers of English

Teaching Self-Care: How I Dedicated an Entire Week to Mental Health

Kaitlyn Vasey, Teacher Writer
August 15, 2022

As a new teacher who is only five years older than many of my students, I have the unique ability to understand what they need since I was in their shoes not too long ago. One thing I needed more than anything in high school was a break; I needed my teachers to recognize how far I was stretching myself between academics, friends, activities, and family. I saw that same need in my students, so I dedicated...

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What We Learned: A Community Poem

Barb Edler and Allison Berryhill
July 29, 2022

    Learning to Hope After 28 Years+ of Experience By Barb Edler In our classrooms  We learn Grace and empathy Kindness and virtue Possibilities and persistence   In our classrooms We develop Relationships and individuals New languages; experience A welcoming bravery   In our classrooms We breathe Giving our all For students;...

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Summer Reflection

Lauren Stephens, Teacher Writer
June 24, 2022

At some point each summer I sit down with the boxes I’ve collected important parts of my life into and the drawers I’ve indiscriminately filled with anything and everything throughout the school year. Part of this standing appointment I have with myself is to make sure I’m shredding unnecessary documents and throwing out expired coupons, but the more enjoyable portion is rereading and organizing...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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