“Am I Valued?” with Andy Milne — Episode 3

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Dear Teacher,

When you got your first job, did you get the most undesirable position in your department or grade level? What about passed up for a position because the other applicant had more seniority? Have you presented ideas at meeting only to get shot down?

Our guest for this episode of Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! is National Health Teacher of the Year, Andy Milne. He’s a teacher at the top of his game! Outside of his teaching duties, he also runs the website slowchathealth.com and is a sought after public speaker. And though he presents as very “put together,” he’ll be the first to tell you that things weren’t always that way for him. For a time, he questioned whether he was a good fit for the job.

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Seven years into the job, feeling undervalued at the school where he was teaching at the time, he walked away. And that time away gave him the perspective he needed. He eventually made his way back to the classroom, and he has some great perspective to share about his journey.

If you want to connect with Andy, and get more details about his story, CLICK HERE.


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Revise at a Deeper Level

Earlier this week, like the picture above, I posed a similar question (biggest challenge teaching students to revise their writing). The comments didn’t make it to that post, and then I decided to put the picture on my Facebook timeline, where I received some really insightful answers there!

Here are some of the stand-out phrases from the responses there:

  • It’s hard to be strategic
  • Providing feedback on another’s writing is daunting
  • Superficial changes
  • They need to actually reread their work
  • If they understand it, they think there is nothing to revise

As a teacher of writing, I am no stranger to any of those thoughts. Forget teaching for a second. Revising one’s writing is a complex process with many different levels. Sometimes a surface-level revision (i.e. replacing a mediocre word with an apt one) can lead to significant change. While at other times, making a deep-level revision (i.e. changing the order of paragraphs or adding an illustrative anecdote) might not make a significant impact on the piece. Bringing it back to the classroom, when teaching revision, it seems most of the time that it is more art than science.

At this point, it is going to appear that I am moving away from the topic, but walk with me a little. In my first couple of years teaching English, I heard Kelly Gallagher speak at a conference and I was hooked. What I took away from the keynote address he gave that day were two things: (1) I need to have my students write a lot more (like a lot more) & (2) the best place to host all that extra writing was in the Writer’s Notebook. When I got back to the classroom, I made my students go out and buy a composition book, we set it all up, and we were off and running . . . for about a month. Then it started to fade to the background. Then it passed out of use. I hadn’t even realized it was missing for another month! 

Continue reading “Revise at a Deeper Level”