Why I Teach

In my family, teaching has become a time-honored tradition. My mother taught English, French, and German to high school students. She was a dedicated minister’s wife until she died of brain cancer in 1984. I became a social studies teacher in 1983, so I am now in the middle of my third decade in education. [...]

3 Steps to Helping Students Develop College-Ready Writing Skills

Teachers are forever reminding their students that what’s going on in their classrooms will be ‘important to know in high school and college’ - but how many students actually believe them? I remember one student who replied to me when I said that: “Yeah, that’s what they say every year. And it’s never really true [...]

Teaching Freshman Students How to Filter Themselves

The Freshman Filter Teaching freshmen students can be a very strange challenge at times. When I started teaching, I remembered that freshman year was one of the changes. I’ll be honest; one of the things that made me want to teach middle school or freshman in high school was the way students in this age [...]

Yes, Breaking Up (with a text) is Hard to Do

It's not you. It's the text. It's moving on...to another grade level. "I just don't understand why...." you catch your breath, "it's been the only book I liked ...no, I loved... to teach."   You pause, 'Why does it have to leave?" After all, you and the book have been together for school years. You [...]

How My School Attained Blue Ribbon Status

On Thursday, September 28th, Good Hope Middle School (the school where I teach) was one of 342 schools (35 of the middle or junior high institutions) designated a Blue Ribbon School. Since then, a few of my fellow teachers asked me "How did we earn such a distinction?", "What does your school do differently?", or, [...]