Professional Development

My Top 10 Early-Career Teaching Fails, and What New Teachers Can Learn From Them, Part II (6-10)

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Read Part I First. Teaching Fail #6: Being a Pedantic Hard Ass The Story: This story goes way back to when I was student teaching in East Hampton, New York in 1988. My cooperating teacher had a speech class that he asked me to take over. I used his assignment for the students, which required a speech of between… Read More »My Top 10 Early-Career Teaching Fails, and What New Teachers Can Learn From Them, Part II (6-10)

My Top 10 Early-Career Teaching Fails, and What New Teachers Can Learn From Them Part I (1-5)

Teaching Fail #1: Oversleeping During my first year of teaching high school English full-time, I had a few recurring fears. Oddly enough, one was that I would be incapacitated by a 15-25-sneeze-long sneezing fit and completely lose control of a class. This didn’t happen in my early years of teaching (although it since has, and was fine).… Read More »My Top 10 Early-Career Teaching Fails, and What New Teachers Can Learn From Them Part I (1-5)

Prepping for the NCTE Convention!

I first attended the Annual Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1989, as a second year high school English teacher. It was like a nerdy dream come true! Thousands of fellow teachers passionate, good-humored, and smart about teaching English. I discovered aspects of the field I had no idea existed. I… Read More »Prepping for the NCTE Convention!

A Statement for Educators on the 2016 Presidential Election

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Below is a statement I sent on the morning after the US Presidential election to my colleagues at Stony Brook University.  Perhaps other educators might find it useful. As always, my views do not necessarily represent Stony Brook University or any of its agents or subsidiaries. Dear  Colleagues, Last night the nation spoke and elected… Read More »A Statement for Educators on the 2016 Presidential Election

Teaching After Tragedy

The massacre in Orlando has spurred many complicated thoughts for me and for everyone I know. It’s a time of sadness, anger, unity, energy. It can feel overwhelming. Can you imagine what it’s like for school-age children and adolescents? A former student asked me recently, what goes through a teacher’s mind in a situation like… Read More »Teaching After Tragedy

Parents: Allies, Not Enemies

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I’ve been teaching the first-semester course in a teacher education program since 2003. This is the very first course that students take after they’ve been admitted to the teacher education program. On the first evening of class, I always ask the students to work in groups to answer the following questions: What are you most… Read More »Parents: Allies, Not Enemies

The Value of Nervousness

Tonight is the first session of a new class I’m teaching. At this stage in my career, I’ve been in this situation over 100 times. Here’s a confession: I am still nervous.  I’m not afraid anymore. I am confident things will go well enough. But I am nervous about making sure I do my job well, that… Read More »The Value of Nervousness