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Fragile X

By Amanda Brewer, Middle School Teacher, Denton, TX:   I teach in a suburban school with a mix of kids in it—racially diverse, high-income, low-income, etc. In my fifth year teaching eighth-grade reading, I was lucky to have small classes. One year, I had one class period...

What Being an Educator Taught Me

By Rachel McMinn, High School English, Meriden, CT:   I am a second career educator. I started off in banking after college, but quickly realized that it was not the career I wanted to pursue for a lifetime. It was a tough decision because I felt fairly...

A New Adventure

By Mindi Rench, 3rd Grade Teacher, Northbrook, IL:   This year I made a huge professional change. After twenty-two years in a middle school, I made the jump to third grade. I was feeling a bit stagnant, in need of shaking myself up. I knew I didn’t want...

More Than Instruction

By Caroline Lehman, 7th Grade ELA, Elizabethtown, PA: Teaching is more than instruction. Way more. I thought that I knew what teaching entailed from my undergraduate work and my student teaching, but the sheer amount of decisions and multitasking that a teacher has to do throughout...

Beautiful Moments

By Yolanda Whitted, English, Dallas, TX:   The most beautiful moments in my career have always been when I am teaching the students no one believes in. So often, they also don’t believe in themselves. I believe in them primarily because I am them. I see myself...

The Importance of Stories

By Elizabeth Shults, High School English, Birmingham, AL:   Stories have always been important to me.  I was raised on Bible stories, told over and over again with flannel-backed characters paraded around on flannel board. My dad used to tell my sister and me stories about a...

My Teaching Story

By Ted Kesler, Elementary Education, White Plains, NY:   When I started teaching, I worried that I would become stale, teaching the same subjects year after year. I had a perception of teachers, late in their careers, who had become jaded. I was dismayed by negative perceptions...

My Advice to New Teachers

By Terri Pantuso, Secondary ELAR, Preservice Teachers, Cypress, TX:   For new teachers, the best piece of advice I have is never to be afraid to admit that you don't know all the answers. It's okay to allow your students to see you struggle with some of...

Making Meaning: Reflections on NCTE 2016

By Katie Wheeler, 7th grade English Teacher, Cheyenne, WY:   A BBQ sandwich wrapper and empty beer can sit on the desk of my hotel room. It is my last night in Atlanta and the evening before I return home from the annual National Council of Teachers of...

Embracing Social Justice

By Monica Soulsby, Preservice High School English Teacher, Grand Ridge, IL:   As a student teacher, I have already had the privilege of working as an educator in multiple settings. Through this experience, I have learned that as a teacher and as a person I am more...

Language & Cultural Exposure

By Sherri Williams, English, Grades 6-12:   I grew up in an urban environment; I'd never been outside of the city until I was in my preteens/early teens. Thus, I was quite ignorant about the rest of the world, particularly country and farming life. My family had little...