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Barrier Language

By Terri Pantuso, Secondary ELAR, Preservice Teachers, Cypress, TX:   About ten years ago, I taught an undergraduate Shakespeare class at a small university comprised predominantly of first-generation students. The course was difficult given the content, but one student in particular seemed to struggle more than others....

Teachers Impact Every Student

By Jenny Martin, College Section, Dayton, VA:   Karen came up to me on my last day of teaching with a large box. I had decided to shift gears when I had my first child, and my last day of class was actually my due date. I...

I Teach For The Students

By Kristen Luettchau, Secondary Lead Ambassador, Bridgewater, NJ:   The desires to learn and to teach have been passions of mine as long as I can remember. My mom tells me stories of times when I would play “school" even before I had attended school myself. My...

Students’ Moment of Literary Enlightenment

By Grace Lee, 6-8th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Naperville, IL:   As an English language arts teacher, I have the great joy of experiencing daily interactions with my most curious, insightful, and knowledge-driven middle school students. One of endless enlightened moments for me was reading S. E....

They Are Ready

By Audra Bolhuis, 9-10th Grade Teacher, Jenison, MI:   Kayonia was a quiet student when I had her in the ninth grade. She worked hard (for a ninth grader), was funny, and always loved to read even though she often struggled with reading, writing, and speech. In...

The Dog in BYOD

By Kate Baker, High School Teacher & 2018 CEL Convention Program Chair, Manahawkin, NJ:   Brody is eight and a half years old. With his graying muzzle, it is evident that he is starting to show his age. I'm reminded that my superhero dog is mortal. This...

A Safe Space to Do Hard Things

By Susan Barber, High School English, Sharpsburg, GA:   The culminating project in our rhetoric unit is a student speech. Many students have a fear of speaking publicly, but because we do so much sharing and discussing in the class, most are over their fear by the...

Getting Out of My Own Way!

By Charlene Mendoza, Secondary ELA & Social Justice Education, Tucson, AZ:   What do YouTube stars, Harvey Milk, and Wendy Davis all have in common? They were all nominated by students I had the privilege of working with during a project titled "Nobel Prize for Democracy In...

Their Courage: My Why

By Stella Villalba, ELL Teacher & Coach, Lead Ambassador, New Albany, OH:    One of my ELL students stopped by my classroom in the middle of the day. He looked at me sadly and asked me in Spanish if he could just chill in my room for a...

Book Yente

By Cherylann Schmidt, 7th/8th, Ewing, NJ:   Each year at back-to-school night, I share my goals for my students with their parents. My hope is: 1. For each student to become a lifelong reader 2. For students to be able to communicate clearly in writing Then I talk about ways...

Authenticity Works

By Debra Schneider, District Literacy Lead and Librarian, Tracy, CA:   Students in the Senior Odyssey elective writing class were slowly building community, but a few students were still on the periphery, quiet, not participating in reading their informal journaling aloud to the class. I worried, always,...