Join the mailing


Click here to join my email list. You’ll receive tips, updates, and exclusive material about twice a month.

New Teacher Orientation Speech Notes (Or, Six Reasons to Treat Your First-Day Classroom Like an Airport.)

This year, over thirty school districts will be giving See Me After Class to all their incoming teachers. To celebrate, here are the notes from the most requested twelve-minute segment of my New Teacher Orientation speech: Six Reasons to Treat Your First-Day Classroom Like an Airport.

“The Holistic Grading Half-Sheet” – A Downloadable Tool to Make Grading Papers Easier

As a high school writing teacher, I’m especially susceptible to the paper pile. My book chapter, Grading Work Without Hating Work, offers tips for balancing speed with specificity, but I’ve also developed a tool I call “The Holistic Grading Half-Sheet,” which you can download here.

Video: How Teachers Can Manage Their Bosses

Rick Hess’s new book, The Cage-Busting Teacher, is for educators who want to shape the schools and systems in which they work. The book starts with the refreshing premise that teachers should not have to be martyrs fighting the system “on their own time and on their own dime.” Instead, it offers guidance on how teachers can best use their finite supply of time and energy to impact their workplaces and profession. The book offers practical advice from a variety of perspectives, giving special attention to areas that can be weak points for teachers, such as communicating with lawmakers, speaking through the media, and working with difficult bosses. I’m a fan – and one of the teachers featured in the book. Here is a short video in which I share some tips on how teachers can “manage” their relationships with administrators – illustrated with some cute graphics.


Class: Writing About Work (The Center @ MDC)

“People love to read about work. God knows why, but they do.”
– Stephen King, On Writing

Jobs are often fertile ground for writing material, and those who write about work frequently find loyal audiences. In this class, we examine a variety of work-related writing done well, including career confessionals such as Waiter Rant, worksite-based novels such as The Firm, popular work-related blogs, and even work humor, such as Dilbert. The course will include in-class writing exercises as well as instructor and peer coaching for ongoing projects.

When: Tuesdays, February 24 – March 31, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Where: MDC Wolfson Campus, Downtown Miami Dade College

Click here to register or learn about other programs offered through The Center @ MDC.



Panel Discussion: Education Nation and #projectliteracy

Education Nation joins forces with #projectliteracy and invites teachers, parents, and literacy experts to share ideas on how to make significant, sustainable advances in literacy. The event is February 4, and I’ll be the teacher on the panel. I hope to post some links here afterwards.

Guidelines for Teacher Attire (Larry Ferlazzo / EdWeek Classroom Q&A)

Larry Ferlazzo, EdWeek Classroom Q&A’s much-loved asker of questions and collector of answers, asked for some helpful guidelines on teacher attire. You can read my response here. (Spoiler alert: I talk a lot about comfortable shoes, accidentally-exposed skin, and avoiding dry-cleaners.)

BAM! Radio: Talking Teacher Attire With Renee Moore and Larry Ferlazzo

Teacher attire doesn’t get much attention – except when it goes wrong. On this BAM! Radio segment with teacher-blogger Larry Ferlazzo and CTQ Teacherpreneur Renee Moore, we discuss how teachers can dress to show respect to their communities, show compassion for their own feet, and show as little unintentional skin as possible.

Class: Making it Funny – The Art and Science of Humor Writing (The Center @MDC)

Ever since I moved to Miami ten years ago, I’ve been attending creative writing classes at Miami Dade College through The Center for Literature and Theater. If you’re a Miami writer, hopeful writer, or writing teacher – or if you just want a chance to spend time with the elusive reading and writing crowd in Miami, you should sign up for their mailing list. This workshop is a chance to put my nerdly passion for studying what makes things funny to good use. The class begins with a short overview of popular humor theories, then moves onto more concrete aspects of humor, including the setup-punch structure used by standup comics and how to use “comic timing” on paper. We will also read and discuss excerpts of funny writing done well. The course will include in-class writing exercises as well as instructor and peer feedback on ongoing projects. Will this workshop make you funny? No. Only a lifetime of using humor to cope with emotional pain can do that. But this workshop will teach you use the techniques of professional funny people to enhance the humor in your own writing.

APEX Award for “Class Dismissed!” Column

The winning column is called Six Tips for Looking Less Like a Rookie, which is pretty self-explanatory. Thanks, APEX award committee!

NPR Panel Discussion: How Have Schools Changed in the 60 Years Since Brown Vs. Board?

Sixty years ago, the historic Brown v. Board of Education ruling was supposed to level the field for all students. A lot has changed in 60 years, but many educators and others say too many public schools are re-segregated and still failing to serve students of color. Tell Me More‘s Michel Martin lead a great panel discussion that also included Ivory Toldson, Deputy Director of the White House initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Pedro Noguera, a sociologist and professor of education at New York University. Read or listen here.