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After Commencement, Life?

By Gwen Gray Schwartz, College Section, Alliance, OH:   Sometimes graduation is not the happy event it's supposed to be for students, and letting go can be both a relief and a scary proposition for everyone involved. We often talk of the successes and the growth of...

The Power of Making Connections

By Jori Krulder, High School Language Arts Teacher, Chico, CA:   It’s only in the last few years that I have realized the value of making connections with other teachers. Of course, I’ve known that teachers learn the most from talking to other teachers and sharing ideas and...

A Voice from My Past

By Dr. Susan H. Smith, Former Middle School Teacher, Andover, MA:   There have been so many wonderful moments and memories after nearly 50 years of teaching! However, one recently came to me in a text, if you can believe it. Somehow a former student was able...

Teacher Writer

By Peg Grafwallner, Instr. Coach & Reading Specialist, Milwaukee,WI:   When children are small, they unabashedly refer to themselves with creative descriptions like writer, artist, singer, scientist, mathematician, etc. They haven’t been jaded, yet, by an educational system that relies on standardized test scores and district assessments...

Students Never Cease to Amaze Me

By Shawna Easton, Secondary Section, Prosper, TX:   Even after 13 years of teaching, students continue to astound me each year. When I approached the idea of goal setting with my students, I was surprised at their reaction. I thought it would be something like, “Ugh, why...

This One Student

By Kayla Roush, Secondary Section, Harrisburg, PA:   I currently work in a school filled with diverse students who live in the inner city. Their lives are tough—much tougher than mine will ever be. Sometimes my students go hungry, and sometimes they act out because they want...

Remembering the Student I Used to Be

By Abigail Crane, Secondary Section, Overland Park, KS:   One of the beautiful aspects of our profession as educators is that every year we get to press a “restart” button and try again. We can do everything from scratch, or cherry-pick the best lessons and units from...

How do you evaluate teachers who change lives?

By Lorraine Cella, Secondary Section, Tenafly, NJ:   It was 1966 and my 9th-grade year began in a suburban town in northern New Jersey. I strolled to school carrying my small assignment pad, which I needed for writing notes—the kind between friends in the hallway during change...

Make Pinocchio A Real Boy

By Cathy Leogrande, Teacher Education K-12 & Special Ed, Syracuse, NY:   When I was a high school Special Education teacher, I went to a difficult CSE meeting. The parent was not in agreement with the district plan for her son. As she got up to walk...

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...