While many teachers are finishing their first week of school, I am viewing the start of school from a distance, having left classroom teaching, at least for the moment. I want to share, from this unfamiliar vantage point, what I see as so special about being a K-12 teacher.
English teacher Ariel Sacks shares the secrets that made her 2016-17 school year great—including creating work-life boundaries and taking on new responsibilities—as well as a new shift in her professional life.
In this post, I share some examples of teachers explaining how lack of books impacts their planning, and a checklist and suggestions for administrators who want to build a culture of authentic reading in their schools.
This year, I revived a poetry station which I haven't used in three years: bibliomancy. In it, students ask a question, and use a special process involving books to write a poem prophesying the future. Reading the questions they ask always gives me pangs of compassion for my students, who are in the throes of adolescence. What caught my attention this year, though, was a new category of questions I had not seen before--questions about humankind in general, and its future.
In my recent post about interviewing, I advised not to speak negatively about yourself or your teaching. Interviewers know there is no such thing as perfection, but we want to get a sense of what contributions you might bring to the job. Sharing negative experiences can spark your interviewer's imagination in unpredictable and detrimental ways. But what if you are expressly asked about an area of weakness or something else that veers toward the negative? Here are some suggestions for responding to questions that open a potentially negative can of worms, without getting negative about yourself or your teaching. Hint: ...
Getting a job requires you to be both principled and strategic. There is a fine line between being appropriately honest, and well, shooting yourself in the foot.
In a demo lesson for a teaching position, make sure to create opportunities for students to think critically. This may sound obvious, but it can be difficult to maintain that space when you don't know the students and you're working in such a high pressure situation. For the members of the hiring committee I was on recently, this became a crucial factor in our decision. Here are some suggestions for making sure the students are doing higher order thinking in a demo lesson.
Be specific. Know examples of your work. Be articulate. Ariel Sacks gives tips for teachers going through job interviews.
In my previous post, I discussed the debate around whether to teach whole class novels. In the field, this conversation can get quite polarized, but we shouldn't be limited to this either/or scenario. As a profession we can do better than a decades old stalemate. I believe we must revolutionize, not drop, the whole class novel. The five strategies below are steps toward that end.
The debate around the use of novels in English classes of all age groups is at least twenty years old, but it remains unresolved, continually bubbling up in blog posts and conversations among a wide range of concerned educators: what do we do about the whole class novel? In this post, I analyze the state of current teaching trends with regard to novels, and offer two propositions for moving the debate forward.