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How Do We Foster Life-Long Readers?

“That’s the best book we’ve ever been assigned to read,” I heard a student say to a friend in my classroom last week. Another student, on the day of our final discussion, said he wasn’t feeling 100% well but decided to come to school anyway because he didn’t want to miss us talking about the […]

A Friend, a Flower, and a Pineapple


A few years ago, my wife and I had a good friend who lived here in Malaysia and taught at the same school (English in the classroom next to mine). He was always good at appreciating people, being encouraging, and finding out how to meet people’s needs. His presence was a good inspiration for me […]

I Hate Airports


I briefly tried to count the number of airports I’ve been to in my 35 years and quickly gave it up as a lost cause. From dinky little regional ones, to massive, opulent international hubs, I’ve experienced it all. From unexpectedly long layovers to finding the perfect traveling meal, I’ve hit pretty much everything on […]

Teaching is Exhausting

Sitting here at the end of my 10th full year of teaching, I’m exhausted. Those of us who get into this career know what we’re in for; non-teachers will often make sympathetic comments about how hard it must be to be a teacher; even lots of our students are perceptive enough to see the many […]

Neuroscience in the English Classroom

This school year, I decided to lean into something that I’d previously only been incorporating in a piecemeal manner in my classroom. Starting at the beginning of the school year, my 10th graders have gotten a healthy dose of neuroscience in my English classes. In part, it’s because I’m fascinated by it and often find […]

My Obligation to My Students

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a fellow teacher about our obligations towards our students. In particular, when it comes to how we express our own beliefs and worldviews in a classroom that holds a diverse group of students. In a time when ‘indoctrination’ by teachers is a hot topic, tensions between worldviews […]

There You Are, Creativity

If my creativity were a creature, it would be that fickle cat that decides to leave and set up a new home somewhere else for a while only to eventually come back home. I caught glimpses of it over the last few years, sauntering down a distant alleyway, but it’s finally come back home. Over […]

Dear students learning to write


Dear students learning to write, You live in a world full of wonderful technology. Your devices, apps, programs, and entertainments are more useful, more engaging, and more distracting than ever before. Technology is a tool that we can harness to enhance our lives as humans; yet, too often, we let the technology dictate how it […]

Football, National Identity, and Where We Call Home


Every four years, when the world cup comes around, I find myself thinking more about national identity. It’s one of the few times I feel myself connected closely to my German-ness, brings lots of opportunities to talk with people of other nationalities about a shared passion, and shows interesting patterns for how differently people can […]

Appreciating Film/TV Adaptations


I love teaching Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express because many students enjoy the departure from texts they’re used to studying and they really get into the mystery genre. Many will have already seen the 2017 Kenneth Branagh film adaptation and ask whether we’ll be watching that in class. I tell them I’ve got […]