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
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?
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
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?
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
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, 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?
I love social media. Not all of it. I’ve been off Facebook for just about a year, and I have enjoyed the time away. But I love Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. I like these platforms better because they are more public facing than Facebook, which tends to narrow to people I know personally. I like… Read More »2 Fast, Easy Ways to Keep Social Media from Driving Your Students (and YOU) to Distraction