Let Your Students Choose

By Terri Burg, 7th Grade ELA, Grass Lake, MI:   While this has been one of my favorite years as a teacher, the best moment happened on our last full day of school. I asked my students to look at the reading data they had been collecting...

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...

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...

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....

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...

Coming Full Circle

By Kirsten Foti, 7-8th Grade Reading and Writing, Arlington, TX:   After eleven years of teaching, I had the unique opportunity of having a full-time tutor work in my classroom. I sent out an inquiry through Facebook and received a response from one of my first-year students....

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...

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...

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...