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They Changed My Life

By Julia Peacock, 9-10th Grade English Teacher, Spring Arbor, MI:   When I decided to become a teacher, I believed it was about me changing the lives of students. What I've learned – what has been so unexpected – is that my students have changed my life!...

The Mantle of Story — Passing On Tradition

By Kevin Cordi, College Section, Columbus, OH:   "J" came to an afterschool storytelling meeting. We were there simply to tell stories for and with each other. He shared that he came to the meeting because his storyteller was no longer at home. His father had left...

The Line Between Mr. Keating and Keeping It Real

By Dominic Pioter, Secondary Section, St. Louis, MO:   Looking into Jeremy’s 16-year-old face, I poured my 21-year-old soul into the role of a lifetime. In my oversized shirt and ink-stained tie, I was giving an Oscar-worthy performance of the eager young English teacher who defies all...

Never Give Up

By Lakisha Odlum, Middle Section Lead Ambassador, Jamaica, NY:   I remember the moment that I truly realized the importance of reading aloud and audiobooks in the classroom. I was teaching struggling readers in middle school and I really wanted them to read Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains...

A Spark

By Shyanne DeBaker, Secondary ELA, Orem, UT:   As a student teacher, I wanted to change the world. I thought teaching would be easy, because I knew it was my calling in this life. My first day of student teaching, nothing major happened—very typical introductions, learning the...

A Moment Like This

By Cameron Carter, Elementary Lead Ambassador, Columbus, OH:   Where does one begin when asked to share a memorable teaching experience? It seems as though each and every day adds a little to my teaching story. One moment in particular occurred last school year. I was building...

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...