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Blessing From Another Student

By Jodie Scales, High School Language Arts, Muncie, IN:   I have a student who wrote an introductory letter to me at the beginning of the year explaining that his biggest fear is having to talk or present in front of anyone else, let alone in front...

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...