March Madness: The Anxiety College-Bound Seniors Face This Time of Year

When turning the page from February to March, I was reminded of what many college-bound high school seniors face at this point in the year: an anxiety-filled waiting where students collectively hold their breath as colleges and universities send messages of congratulations to some and condolences to others.

As first period opened on Monday morning, I did not have any plans of discussing this time of anxious waiting. But, per usual on Monday mornings, the router and the internet were not communicating with one another, and the web access my students needed was not yet available. Needing to stall while the network did all of its beeps and boops to grant us access to the world wide web, I took the opportunity to address this expectant waiting many of my students were experiencing. Continue reading “March Madness: The Anxiety College-Bound Seniors Face This Time of Year”

“Don’t You Trust Me?” with Nancy Erwin — Episode 2



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Dear Teacher, 

When it comes to what you believe is the in the best interest of the students enrolled in your class, have you ever asked this question: “Don’t you trust me?”

Nancy ErwinIn today’s episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! we are going to hear Nancy Erwin’s story about the first few years of her teaching career. As a first grade teacher, when her district made Nancy and her colleagues administer assessment after assessment (which included a lot of hand scoring), she wondered if this is really all there was to teaching, or if there was something more.

At one point, she stepped away from the classroom, and Nancy took the time to reflect, “Should I keep going?”

Hear the rest of Nancy’s story HERE.

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The Standing Quiz: Get 100% Participation, Engage Student Metacognition, and Grade None of It!

What if I told you that there is a classroom activity that . . .

  • helps students prepare for upcoming multiple choice tests,
  • promotes metacognition,
  • gets students moving,
  • strengthens longterm memory, and
  • you don’t have to grade any of it?

Not only is there such an activity, but it is the kind of activity that can be appealing to teachers from different backgrounds and different styles. If you are the kind of teacher who appreciates traditional lecture, this is for you. If you prefer a more progressive approach to teaching, this is for you. And if you like research-backed strategies, this is for you! Continue reading “The Standing Quiz: Get 100% Participation, Engage Student Metacognition, and Grade None of It!”

First Podcast Episode Is Up!


Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up Episode 001

Welcome to the first episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! We don’t fully understand what we’re doing around here yet, but we have to start somewhere. And that’s right here.


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Continue reading “First Podcast Episode Is Up!”

In Her Words

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the week I sat down with all of my students to conference about their letter grades. It was eye-opening! Like, in a career altering change my life kind of way, eye-opening. I don’t know any other way to describe it.

I held about a dozen conversations that week that I will never forget for as long as I teach. Four of the conversations were really striking because the students were all facing similar experiences, thoughts, and emotions even though none of them had talked to one another, and as far as each student knew, they were the only ones who were thinking that way. Of those four conversations, one went so well that this student claims it changed her whole outlook on her place in school.

That got me thinking. What if you could hear her words in her own voice? Well, keep reading. And get ready to listen up because she let me record our conversation.

Continue reading “In Her Words”

More Encouragement, Less Judgment

One thing that always seems to surprise young teachers when they are starting out is just how much time they give to the work. It’s tough. Being a teacher requires grit, the capability to hang in there and stick to it. And the less experience one has on the job, the more time, thought, and energy must go into the effort of preparing and delivering quality instruction.

When I entered the profession, the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act was in full swing. That meant there were student proficiency targets, and if schools, departments, and teachers weren’t achieving those targets, something was wrong and some aspect(s) of what you were doing in the classroom was going to go through an uncomfortable change. Teaching without these extra layers of accountability is already dynamic and complex enough as it is, so you can imagine that those early years for me involved long nights of reflecting, assessing student work, and planning instruction. Continue reading “More Encouragement, Less Judgment”

Why More Teachers Should (Re)Start Blogging

If you’re reading this post, then you are looking to get back in to blogging, or you are seriously flirting with the idea of jumping in for the very first time. And if you’re like me–an educator with a compulsion to think about teaching to a point that skirts the limits of  what’s considered “healthy” AND someone who, at the same time, finds starting new projects scary–you want to get your ducks in a row before putting yourself (back) out there.

Since I have some experience starting and restarting blogs, and we are facing a new year, I would like to offer the small amount of wisdom I have. And, just as you are reading this post, I also want to state up front that I am positioning myself as a reader of this post too (because I can really benefit from my own advice). Continue reading “Why More Teachers Should (Re)Start Blogging”