A global pandemic, a cross-country move, an identity crisis…yeah, it’s been a weird year. Everything’s upside-down and inside-out right now. Seemed like a good time to fire up the YouTube channel again:
Let’s talk! What topics should I cover? What’re you struggling with? How can I help? I’ll do my best to turn your questions into future video/blog posts. Teach on, my friend!
Road photo credit: Pixabay, public domain
20 thoughts on “The Next Chapter?”
I have been visiting your site since my very first year of teaching sixth grade, and I honestly don’t know how I would have navigated the last seven years without your advice and resources! I have been recently offered a job as a literacy coach at a Title I school and have thought it over (and, okay, agonized over the decision!) for weeks. I decided to leave my “comfort zone” of an amazing team and school to leap into the unknown next year! Do you have any advice for me on being a coach? I am especially nervous that coming in as a “newbie” at the school will be difficult in terms of gaining teachers’ trust and being able to help the school towards their goals as soon as possible. Thank you!!
Yay! Welcome back. We missed you! Could we maybe address the elephant in the room and that being why so many incredibly amazing teachers are leaving or looking to leave the profession?
Congratulations on your new gig, Brittany! I haven’t ever worked as a literacy coach, but I do know that good stuff is waiting for you once you leave your comfort zone. I’m thinking my (short) journey into alternative ed might be a relatable story for your situation. It’s on my list! 🙂
For sure, Jenn. It was a problem pre-COVID and it’s a downright crisis now. Let me brainstorm on this. It’s a conversation worth having, so stay tuned…
I look forward to your posts. You have simplified so many areas of teaching English. I soak up everything you produce. I have a teacher intern this year, and I have recommended your videos and materials.
Thanks so much, Karen! In a world of online learning, I’m guessing your intern could teach this veteran a thing or two, as well. 🙂
Hello. I am an intervention teacher for elementary school 4th through 8th grade. Because of budget cuts I only get to see my students for an hour a week. What is the most important things to focus on with so little time? My students need help with just about everything in writing.
Congratulations on your move and new adventures to come! I love all your videos and have used many of your products.
Hey, Kim! Great question. My short answer is thinking, organization of ideas, and modeling. My longer answer is to add this to my video idea list. It’s a good topic and writing is my favorite thing to teach in small group settings. Thanks!
Happy Easter, Laura! Thanks for ALL you do! Do another video on how to mark essays fast OR essay alternatives!! Best, Deborah
I LOVED your video! Congratulations on this new phase of your life! While it can be so scary, it is also quite exciting as well! I am an old gal who has recently returned to teaching after raising my boys… so I am a new-old teacher! My question is— how do you approach poetry in the high school English classroom? Stanza by stanza independently? Groups?
For sure, Deborah! You know I have that grading hacks series (it’s here for folks who are new to the blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLK_W3DKgRU&list=PLTZIFhMvr8u_4MLiWI0hyeHk_7f0YH6Et) and I agree that we need more high-quality assessment alternatives. You’re on my list! 🙂
Welcome back to the teacher’s desk, Tracie! Great question. I begin with some basic skill-building, including this 9-step process to break down a poem: https://youtu.be/9B-FHVkiJOE. From there, we move on to modeling annotation, slowly giving kids more and more ownership of where the analysis takes the class. I can definitely dig deeper into curriculum delivery in future videos. Thanks for watching and commenting!
I absolutely LOVE your resources…………annnnnnnnnd I’ve spent quite a lot of my “teacher cash” on them over the years! I have acquired enough resources for my Junior Literature class; however, I seem to struggle to find engaging material for my Senior Literature classes. If you were going to teach a semester-long Senior Literature class, what are some must-haves in the curriculum? AND! Can you create some resources on those must-haves for me to spend more of my “teacher cash” on!? I have three small children and NO extra time to come up with awesome resources like yours…it’s SO WORTH IT to buy your beautiful products! Thank you SO SO SO much for everything you are doing. I utilize your YouTube channel frequently-you’re doing a GREAT job with the videos! I appreciate your “realness” in them.
Your note just made my day, Mrs. Deaver! Thank you for this. Three kids and COVID teaching year?!! I. Can’t. Even.
At my schools, Senior Literature has meant British Literature. Is that the same for you? What titles do you have available? I’ve always been limited by the book room selections. If it has to be Brit Lit, I’m definitely not a great resource because that’s a prep I’ve intentionally avoided over the years. Seriously, give me sophomores (sigh…) before I have to teach seniors British Lit. Ack!
If that’s not the case and your options are wider, I’d lean toward something like a “modern storytelling” class, where we explore unique ways authors are working today to capture our attention and make us think – narrative podcasts/radio plays, best-selling fiction, social justice through YA lit., novel-to-screenplay adaptations. Now THAT sounds like a good time.
I just added this to my idea notebook. Right now, I’m buried under a project converting my existing materials to work on Google Drive. When I come up for air, I’ll enjoy adding more of these modern types of materials to my collection. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂
Dear Laura . . . I have been a fan for many years. Thanks for sharing your story. Enjoy this time of transition. It is rare that we get to do that in this life. I have transitioned as well this year. Moving during a pandemic is rough. I moved from California to Las Vegas, NV last summer and I am teaching 6th grade ELA. I have used your grammar sentences with my middle schoolers before and they get it. This has been the worst year for me because I feel like a 1st year teacher. I have learned new online platforms that don’t have anything to do with teaching. They do make it easier to get content to students, but it takes away the personal touch of teaching. Connecting with students. Last year when the pandemic hit and we went to online was easier in a way because I had already been in the classroom with my students. We had that connection and they wanted to stay connected with me and each other. This year is harder because I hadn’t made that in person connection with my students. It has gotten better as the year has moved on, but it is still a struggle. Congratulations on being an empty nester and this new chapter in your life. I have seen the next video and now I have a better understanding. Teaching is the hardest job you will ever love. Stay strong my friend. You are not alone.
Yes, Kendall, I can completely relate. I’m hopeful the great reward of teaching – connecting with kids and helping them grow – will soon be restored. It will be interesting to see which pieces of technology districts determine have merit and which ones will disappear. I worry that, per usual, this will come down to numbers/testing data. I mean, is our future going to be robo-teachers or human connection and community? You know what I want.
Chiming in with Mrs. Deaver — I would love more resources for seniors, as well. (And it DOESN’T have to be just Brit Lit!)
Duly noted, Good Stuff! 😉
I NEEEEED your opinions and advice on cell phones in the classroom. I’ve never really been the cell phone police, but I’m having feelings that maybe I should crack down a bit more…what’s your opinion on this? How did you deal with this in your classroom? I teach Juniors and Seniors, so I feel like they need to learn proper and appropriate cell phone usage without me taking their phones (I also have no interest in actually housing their phones…gross). Thanks so much!!!
Oh, I feel this pain, mrsdeaverishere. It’s a delicate dance, really. I’ll add this to my video idea list, but the short version is that I follow the school’s policy and then use my best judgment in whatever situation arises. I do occasionally have to take a phone and turn it into the front office if a student is using it, for instance, during an exam. Other times, I ask them to use their phones as part of our lesson – listening to a podcast or using their calculators for a cross-curriculum math/English lesson, for instance. Again, it’s a dance. In the end, I’m a fan of treating students how I would want to be treated. I am very clear with them and tell them we all need to learn about appropriate time/place usage. (In fact, there are a lot of adults I know who could learn that same lesson, eh?)