Soldier Learns to Love Writing

By Amy Touchstone, Secondary Section, Longview, TX:   A former student sent me a Facebook message several years ago. He had been in my classroom as a high school senior and had not liked the amount of writing we did.  A few years had passed and he...

The Best Teacher? Lifelong Learning.

By Nancy Wahl, AP Literature and Composition, Houston, TX:   This year, at the young age of 58, I began a Master’s degree program at Rice University. I teach senior English and work diligently to make learning relevant for my students. I seek to ensure that what...

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...

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 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...

A Spark

By Shyanne DeBaker, Secondary ELA, Orem, UT:   As a student teacher, I wanted to change the world. I thought teaching would be easy, because I knew it was my calling in this life. My first day of student teaching, nothing major happened—very typical introductions, learning the...