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Choosing Hope in the Classroom

Why the Choices Teachers Make Matter As most of you know, I’m an avid runner—and an avid reader. So, one of my favorite recent discoveries is the Audible app. It allows me to download books and listen to them while I run. Of course, I’m a teacher and love to highlight, mark up text, and … Read More

Teaching Kids to Make the ‘Right’ Choice

How to Grow Your Students’ Hearts Along With Their Brains “We need to care less about whether our children are academically gifted and more about whether they sit with the lonely kid in the cafeteria.” I’ve seen this quote making the rounds on social media a lot lately.  And as both a mother and a … Read More

Teaching Every Student—Even the ‘Bad Berries’

Why Running a School Like a Business Doesn’t Work In the 80’s, Jamie Vollmer, a businessman and attorney, became famous when People magazine named his company’s blueberry ice cream the “Best Ice Cream in America.” He wasn’t just a successful businessman, he was also an education advocate. Mr. Vollmer contended that schools were stuck in … Read More

Students Who are Loved Turn into Loving Adults

Why We Need to ‘Love First, Teach Second’ Real talk? Teaching is a challenge. It’s chaotic, overwhelming, stressful. It doesn’t just require hard work; it requires heart work. I think my fellow teachers know exactly what I mean. We love our kids. I mean, we call them “our kids,” after all! We worry about their … Read More

Public Education Needs a Revolution

What Can Teachers Do to Make the System Work for All Students? It’s time for our public education system to be reinvented. We currently have alarming rates of non-graduation from schools and colleges, and the levels of stress and depression among students and their teachers have skyrocketed. University degrees are falling in value, yet the … Read More

Go for the Grant

Personal Renewal is a MUST for Teachers In 2011, I submitted a grant to the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Grant committee. This is a program for Indiana teachers who want to be personally renewed outside of their profession. (Can you all give me a “Hallelujah!”?) The goal of this grant is to recognize and renew our … Read More

Educating Corey

How a Troubled Student Impacted My Life—and Changed His This is Corey. Years ago, I was his 4th-grade teacher. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Corey struggled with an alcoholic mother and a dad who really wasn’t a part of his life. They had no money, no support, and he and his older brother had … Read More

A Teacher’s Message from the Heart

My son, Spencer, has been blessed to have Amanda Atkins as his ELA teacher for the last two years. She’s a progressive teacher, always willing to be a learner herself. The curriculum and expectations for her classes are extremely rigorous—and I’m 100% OK with that. She has prepared my son to handle complex texts and … Read More

Teachers Matter—So Tell Them!

A Challenge for Teacher Appreciation Week   In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to single out one of my favorite teachers—one who really made a difference in my life. Her name is Betty Wilgus, and she was my 1st grade teacher. I know it’s hard to imagine that I remember what it was … Read More