Maintaining (Or Regaining) Your Sense of Possibility

Empty School Hallway

I taught freshman English for six years, six class periods each year. 

In every one of those classes, we read Romeo and Juliet.

After the steep learning curve of my early years, this was a relief. I was a pro now! I had lesson plans I could reuse with only minor changes.

A couple of years after that, I was even more of a pro; I barely even needed to look at the lesson plans. I gave the same explanations and told the same jokes at the same point in each chapter. 

By year six I had memorized the exact point in the audiobook where we could hear saliva coming out of the voice actors’ mouths.


What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Grading

Organize Your Workspace / papers

The best grading is specific, constructive, and back in students’ hands in a timely fashion. Most teachers agree with this. Research shows this. And, let’s be honest, you knew it anyway.

So why haven’t you finished grading that pile on your desk?

And why is grading the part of the job most likely to cover your kitchen table, ruin your weekends, and never, ever be finished?


Quiz: Are You a Terrible Teacher or Do You Just Need a Nap?

Messy desk with teachers have class mug

Give yourself one point for every “yes” answer.

1. When you read the scoring directions, was your first reaction, “Ugh. Does a terrible teacher like me even deserve points?”

2. Wait—there were directions? How did you miss those? Where are they? Oh, okay. You’re reading them now. Back to the first question… wait—there were directions?

3. Have you recently received negative feedback from a student, parent, or administrator?


The “Aha-Moment / Frustration Cycle” in Teaching

apple blasting off like a space ship

One day, as a relatively new teacher, I finally figured everything out.

Cue clouds parting. Cue beam of light shining down upon me. Etc.

What did I figure out? It doesn’t matter. It was mostly wrong anyway.

It also wasn’t the last time I thought I’d finally figured everything out.