There was a time I was extremely rigid about deadlines. I was in my very early twenties and a new teacher. The sacredness of deadlines had been drilled into me from my earliest days at St. Helena’s Grammar School in The Bronx through my college years. “Students have to learn the value of meeting deadlines… Read More »How I Handle Deadlines
Click to listen to this post. We spend hours and hours planning lessons, coming up with useful and interesting assignments, and we spend huge amounts of energy directly working with students to help them not only understand those assignments but to actually succeed on them. And after all that, this little bastard turns in an… Read More »Don’t Take Cheating Personally
If you’re like me, you remember how teachers would deliberately call on students not so much to elicit an answer but to catch a student not paying attention. I was pretty good at answering when I got called out, as after years and years of practicing, I could daydream while keeping one ear on the… Read More »Cold Calling with Compassion
All classes are different, and each has its own personality, a result of the chemistry of the people in the room, the time of day the class meets, the length of the class, and the general mood of the school/community it’s in. This is one of the great things about teaching. You really never know… Read More »Your Class Has Really Gone Off the Rails. What Can You Do RIGHT NOW?
Conferences, especially when we get back to in-person, are exciting spaces. You’ll meet hundreds, even thousands of people who are passionate about the same things you are. When teachers get together at a conference such as the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention, or any number of other teacher conferences, the energy is… Read More »Wanna Present at a Conference? Answer Three Questions in Your Proposal
Since I co-authored a number of articles and chapters in the early 2000s–including the most popular “Why Revitalize Grammar?” (2003, English Journal), “Grammar Rant Analysis” (2006, English Journal), and Grammar Rants (Heinemann, 2011)–I have been exploring the ways in which grammar instruction in the USA is based on bigotry. In the years since, I have… Read More »Teaching Standard English is Racist
Yesterday we witnessed the first violent insurrection against the United States government since the US Civil War. It was led by a cult leader who managed to get himself elected President of the United States, and he activated it when he lost his re-election bid. Yesterday was President Trump’s SECOND attempt at a violent insurrection.… Read More »Is the United States of America Already Over?
In a democracy, the real goal of education is to help students develop themselves into knowledgeable, critically thoughtful, and action-oriented citizens. That means it is our job as teachers to educate our students to live their best futures for themselves and those around them. Good teachers know that we don’t have all the answers to… Read More »Are You Educating Citizens for a Democratic Future, or Preparing Livestock for Slaughter?
No one can deny the United States is in transition. We are moving either toward an autocracy or toward a renewed democracy. While most of us in education probably hope for the later, most of us acknowledge the momentum of the former. What I’m not sure most teachers realize is that some of this is… Read More »Why Personal Politics Belong in the Classroom: 3 Reasons and a Caution