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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 […]

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 […]

Expertise and Humility

Every year, when research paper season rolls around, I always have a few students that want to cite themselves, use their own ‘knowledge’, or consider themselves experts in their chosen topic. It takes a bit of convincing before they’re willing to acknowledge that maybe they’re not experts in their field at the age of 16 […]

A Rich Tapestry

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of that tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.” ~Maya Angelou~ For a […]

Reading Native American Literature

I’ve been teaching my American Literature class for a number of years, tinkering with it, switching out texts, and trying to find the right balance of stories. Originally, the only Native American stories in the curriculum were some myth retellings from the first chapter of an old literature textbook. And those retellings were not by […]

Teaching Dune

Speculative fiction makes for an excellent teaching tool, in particular with how it requires our minds to be flexible when reading. In stretching the bounds of our every day realities, fantasy and science fiction writers are still exploring themes common to the human experience (to the best of my understanding, most authors are writing for […]

Teaching The Merry Wives of Windsor

When I first took over teaching my Honors 10 English class, the curriculum included Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. That’s an excellent play, but when I saw that many of those students had read Romeo and Juliet the year before, and that the only other Shakespeare plays in our curriculum were Macbeth in Brit. Lit. and Hamlet […]