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?
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
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.
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 stuffed… Read More »3 Things to Do to Get Your Students to Respect You
As a teacher educator–that is, someone who teaches would-be teachers at the college level and leads teacher certification programs–I have always been leery of students who become teachers because they like imposing rules. I’ve had would-be teachers say, in front of an entire class, that they enjoy correcting people’s grammar and pointing out errors on… Read More »If Teachers Are Natural Rule-Followers, That’s a Problem