Building an Intellectual Community

My dream is for my classroom to be a place where students want to learn, where they are curious and open to new ideas. I want them to be engaged in the class because they are interested–not because I am marking points in my grade book or because they are worried about detention. And while […]

Teaching Writing or Teaching to the Test?

Curtis Sittenfild’s confessional article “Those Who Can’t Teach” in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine made me think about what it means to teach writing. Sittenfild, author of the novel Sisterland, describes an experience she had as a volunteer tutor when she tried–unsuccessfully–to help someone pass the English section of the G.E.D. Exam. When Sittenfild moved away, […]

Individuality vs. the Common Core

Steinbeck’s East of Eden has been on my reading list for a long time, I finally decided to tackle it this summer. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. Last night, I stumbled across a passage that reminded me a bit of one of our era’s current educational debates: from East of […]

Should schools require children to learn cursive? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Should schools require children to learn cursive? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com. Since I started teaching English fourteen years ago, I’ve noticed a steady decline in my students’ abilities to write in cursive. When I started my career, the veteran English department chairperson at my school insisted that we require all students write in […]