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
As a teacher, your job is extremely clear. There is a bottom line. It’s student learning. Period. That’s it, that’s all, and there ain’t no more. However, as every decent teacher knows, there’s a hell of a lot to student learning. It’s vaster and far more complicated than most people other than good teachers know.… Read More »Bored Students are the Teacher’s Responsibility: What Can You Do About It?
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 crusty… Read More »“Students Have a Right To Fail” and Other Stupid Lessons I Had to Unlearn
Every teacher has been there. You are trying to get your lesson done. You might even be leading up to something that most of the students will enjoy, but you have that one student who will not allow you to teach. They have influence over the other students, they distract you, and they are able… Read More »3 Things to Know If You Have A Student Who Keeps Acting Out In Class, Refusing To Do Work?
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 taught… Read More »3 Classroom Policies I Changed During the Pandemic–That Helped!
Students, particularly young students, will often praise the teachers they like as “nice.” In my career, I have often been called “nice,” but I’m not sure it was always accurate. And, more often–when I was actually being nice–I wasn’t always considered nice. Especially not at the time. So what does it mean to be a… Read More »Are You a Nice Teacher? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re like me, you let stacks of student papers sit for a while before you can bring yourself to respond to them. Once I get into reading and responding to them, it goes well, but there’s just something about diving into the first paper on the stack that is tremendously foreboding. There have been… Read More »The Rubric Criterion That Changed Everything
In my last post, I wrote about the futility of trying to be objective when grading student writing. The point I make is that teachers must bring their professional judgments to bear on writing as they grade it. Teachers must be completely, intentionally, and unapologetically subjective in their responses to student writing. But with that… Read More »The Importance of Being Humble When Grading
“You’ve been late to class several times recently. Are you OK? “You seem to be in a really bad mood today. Are you OK?” “Your score on that exam isn’t showing how smart you really are. Are you OK?” “Your behavior in class today was really poor. Are you OK?” When I have a problem… Read More »“Are You OK?”: Caring for the Whole Student