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
For quite a few years, I have been hosting guest speakers in my classes via Zoom. These guest speakers have generally been friends of mine from the profession, generally fellow English teachers at the high school or college levels. Arranging visits with friends is very easy and fun, and usually the people I invite are… Read More »Tips for Hosting Guest Speakers on Zoom in Your Class
Traditional colleges/universities are conservative, even risk-averse institutions desperately preserving their prestige (and market share). The open market of for-profit education is a risk-fueled financial orgy desperately trying to be taken seriously. Both have ethical and organizational problems, which is why neither is succeeding in truly innovating the practices of higher education. What real innovation requires… Read More »Innovating the Traditional College, University Right Now
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 filled… Read More »Why Are Some Students So Mean to Teachers They Like?
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), or–like… Read More »The Time I Taught at Gunpoint. Literally.