Authenticity Works

By Debra Schneider, District Literacy Lead and Librarian, Tracy, CA:   Students in the Senior Odyssey elective writing class were slowly building community, but a few students were still on the periphery, quiet, not participating in reading their informal journaling aloud to the class. I worried, always,...

Feeling Like a Writer

By Sarah Fitzgerald, Secondary English, Ruckersville, VA:   My focus for the school year was trying to improve student writing, not for state scores, but to help foster self-confidence and enjoyment in writing. I asked students to write for a few minutes on how they viewed themselves...

I Always Had What I Needed

By Daniel Yowell, 12th Grade Teacher, Detroit, MI:   One teaching experience that has stuck with me through the years was the time that I received an especially meaningful piece of feedback on a year-end reflection written by an eighth-grade student who struggled in many ways, but...

It Takes an #NCTEvillage to Raise an Educator

By Pauline Schmidt, Teacher Education, West Chester, PA:   I've essentially lived two teacher lives. From 1995–2003, I was a 9th-grade English teacher in a small, rural school district in New York. Somewhere around 2000, I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and immediately put it on...

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...

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...

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...

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...