Why I Started Offering One-on-One Office Hours

Since 2009, when the first edition of See Me After Class was published, I’ve spoken about various aspects of teaching around the country: everything from keynotes at national conferences to district-wide new teacher orientations to professional development sessions based on individual chapters of the book.

Often, at these events, I’ve asked the coordinator to set up a period of “office hours” where teachers can speak to me privately about a specific issue in their school or classroom. These conversations have been one of my favorite ways to connect with teachers and make all of this into more of a two-way conversation.

Here are some things I’ve learned from speaking to teachers one-on-one at conferences for over a decade

Sometimes, you need a completely personalized version of advice.

Much of my writing and speaking over the years has been focused on moving past teaching advice that’s good in principle but doesn’t always work as advertised. Office-hours sessions are an opportunity to get advice that is specific to your teaching experience when you really need it. Right now. For reasons only you can explain.

Sometimes, you need to talk to someone who doesn’t work for your school district, answer to your principal, or eat lunch in your teachers’ lounge.

You want to be the best teacher you can and solve your most pressing teaching problems. But you don’t want to risk embarrassing yourself or hurting your career. And you want to make sure the person giving you advice has no loyalty to anyone else who might be involved.

Teachers’ personal and professional lives are never completely separate.

One of the big underlying themes of my most recent novel, Adequate Yearly Progress, is how teachers’ personal lives impact their teaching, and vice versa. Rare is the teacher who can walk into class at her best the day after a messy breakup, or who can fully leave behind a chaotic day of teaching when he goes home. It may be that your real question is about finding ways to enjoy teaching more so you can be a happier person—or, on the flip side, addressing a personal problem that’s finding its way into your classroom so you can become a better teacher.

How can you book a session of Office Hours?

To book a session, choose one of the options below and select an available time from the calendar. If you experience any technical difficulties, you can also try this direct link to the booking page.