On July 27, 2021, four police officers who suffered greatly at the hands of U.S. citizens at the Capitol on January 6 testified before the House Select Committee. Some politicians’ and media personalities’ responses were alarming.

We teachers need to respond. How can we teachers guide students to select good information and make good decisions without being drawn into the political fray?

If you would like to watch the testimony, you can find it here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?513434-1/capitol-dc-police-testify-january-6-attack&live&scrlybrkr=a8d70f1f.

For those who are not in the United States and are reading this (thank you), U.S. citizens converged on our Capitol in Washington, DC…

My students and I all suffered this school year, as did millions of others. Returning to the physical classroom bolstered our spirits. We are more optimistic about school year 2021–2022 now.

One of the students in the morning English class wrote, “I was mortified at the thought that I had to attend summer school. I always assumed that the kids who attended summer school were either not very bright or just lazy. Then, I arrived for the first day and saw some of the smartest kids I knew, and they were also taking summer classes.”

As her journey through summer school continued, she realized how much online learning and working in the evenings had dulled her enthusiasm about school. Additionally, she took responsibility for what happened and asked herself an important…

Reluctant readers struggle to persist with a longer text. These students need a partner to meet them where they are and help them improve. In this post, I answer my own question: “What can I do to better partner with my students?”

Each year, I hear at least once that certain students I serve think they are in the “dumb-dumb class.” That they use the same terminology each year leads me to believe they heard that from someone. My guess is they heard it from classmates; kids can be cruel.

I’m not sure who told them that, since I immediately respond with a speech about how every person put on this Earth has a gift to share with the world, and this is not a “dumb-dumb class,” instead of asking them who told them that. It doesn’t matter anyway.

In this class…

A response to a parent who questioned the value of high school English classes.

I Did Not See This Coming

“When I was in high school,” a parent said to me, “It was about participles, past-participles, and the like. Now, it’s all about novels. What’s up with that? Why? It’s such a waste of time.”

As she proceeded to start her lawn work, she realized she had more to say and stopped what she was doing. “I mean, I know you all need money, but why bother with these English classes when all you’re going to do is read novels?”

Color me not surprised. I figure her child is struggling to answer a key question: “Why do I have to…

To help us end this school year on a positive note, I asked my students, “How will you change the world?”

The name of the final unit in my classroom this year is “How Will You Change the World?” I approached this with my students by saying how much I wish someone had asked me that when I was considering college and career options. I also said we needed to end this dreadful year with an uplifting and confidence-building activity.

In my Junior and Senior sections, this unit combines college and career exploration with an exploration of how individuals can make a difference using their talents, skills, and education. The culminating activity is an essay entitled, “How I Will Save the…

In a review of my ramblings about education over the years, I noticed a pattern. I am consistently attempting to answer the question, “Why do I have to learn this?” In this post, I again try to answer that question.

It occurs to me that one way for students to better understand poetry is to write it. I had this epiphany this morning as I scribbled “Irrelevant.” As I was scribbling, I noticed a rhyme scheme and a pattern emerging, and they changed my thought process.

Yes, I know; it shocked me too.

I wondered to myself, post-scribbling, if what I experienced was like what “real poets” experience as they are writing a poem. What did I learn about the writing process by writing? What can my students learn about literature by writing?

In AP Literature and Composition, we spend…

If learning invites us to challenge our current perspective, writing to learn is the vehicle by which we can challenge it most effectively.

In my research on writing-to-learn, I found the following explanation from Colorado State University.

Generally, writing-to-learn activities are short, impromptu, or otherwise informal, and low-stakes writing tasks that help students think through key concepts or ideas presented in a course. Often, these writing tasks are limited to less than five minutes of class time or are assigned as brief, out-of-class assignments.

That’s not what I’m talking about here.

Instead, consider writing-to-learn, for the purposes of this article, as a longer, sustained process by which a writer probes the mind in the dark and musty places to gain insight about the…

Please, everyone, start listening to each other and following the data collected this school year to effect positive change.

As we round the bend toward the end of a challenging school year, we educators hear so much about the negative effects of remote and hybrid learning on students and families this year. Is there anything positive that has come from it? Yes.

At the very least, we have qualitative and quantitative data available to help us address the issues inherent in our education system. With such data, we can change priorities and eliminate policies that do not work.

After this year and the final quarter of last year, it is not enough to say, “This is the way it…

How can we process the painful truth about the “isms” in our culture to help our students realize a better future for themselves and others? By confronting each of them.

Recently, it was reported that six Dr. Seuss books are coming out of circulation due to racist imagery. I agree with the decision to remove them from the inventory list. They won’t be money-makers anymore. I have a suggestion for those texts already in print. Donate them to teacher-education programs. Let pre- and in-service teachers in all content areas struggle with them and their messages. Don’t bury our history; use it to have critical conversations about racism, stereotypes, and how our society has changed and remained the same. …

Heather M Edick

Heather M. Edick, M.S.Ed. teaches English in Pennsylvania. Her teaching goal: “Helping people accomplish more than they thought possible.”

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