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Category: Teaching Challenges

  • Teaching Standard English is Racist

    Advertisements 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 […]

  • Are You Educating Citizens for a Democratic Future, or Preparing Livestock for Slaughter?

    Advertisements 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 […]

  • Why Personal Politics Belong in the Classroom: 3 Reasons and a Caution

    Advertisements 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 […]

  • Why Are Some Students So Mean to Teachers They Like?

    Advertisements Adolescents are funny creatures. They aren’t all alike, but many of them share features. Knowing those shared features can help teachers to do their jobs better. Adolescents, and even young adults (up to 23 or so), are in a process of forming their bodies, their minds/brains, and their identities. As a result, they are […]

  • The Time I Taught at Gunpoint. Literally.

    Advertisements I like almost all students. Pretty much naturally. After decades of teaching, I have found that virtually every student I encounter just wants to make the best of their situation, whether they are privileged to the point of being spoiled or face such unreasonable hardships that they are angry at the world (with legitimacy), […]

  • 3 Things to Do to Get Your Students to Respect You

    Advertisements I remember distinctly the first time I took over a class as a student teacher. I was excited and extremely nervous. I was dressed in my slightly too-tight dress shirt and my awkwardly-tied tie, as I stood at the front of the room like a child about to lecture to a small circle of […]

  • “Students Have a Right To Fail” and Other Stupid Lessons I Had to Unlearn

    Advertisements When I was a student teacher, way back before the Internet and just after TV Dinners moved from 40 minutes in the oven to 4 minutes in the microwave–really! Where did we find the time?!–I learned a few lessons from some veteran teachers that I had to unlearn later. One teacher in particular, a […]

  • 3 Classroom Policies I Changed During the Pandemic–That Helped!

    Advertisements Like many other teachers, my classes switched from in-person, face-to-face classes to remote classes via Zoom in mid-March 2020. My classes during this current semester were held entirely remotely. I am very fortunate to teach at a University where our new president (not our old one) allowed faculty to choose whether or not they […]

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