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Check back often for the most recent articles, guest blog posts, and other writing. Downloadable materials are available from the sidebar on the left.

Class Dismissed! Six Tips for Looking Less Like a Rookie (Educational Horizons)

Is this your first year as a teacher? There are only a few possible answers when a student asks this dreaded question. All of them are wrong. No matter what your answer, however, the question can leave you paranoid and wondering how students picked up on your rookie status so quickly. This column explains the aspects of teaching that come with experience – plus a few tips for faking them in the meantime.

Interview: Huffington Post Book Doctor Blog

Whenever someone asks me for advice on getting published, I recommend The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. They are a husband-wife/agent-bestselling-author team, and they travel the country giving advice to hopeful authors. Their workshop and book helped me turn See Me After Class from a loose, 20-page collection of notes into a successfully published book with a major publisher. (Twice!) Read the full story here in our Huffington Post interview about teaching writing, writing about teaching, and getting a second shot at publishing success.

Teacher Advice: The Good, the Bad, and “That Would Never Happen in MY Class!” (Learning First Alliance)

Beware: Not all advice is created equal. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, here are a few examples of common suggestions with potential pitfalls on the LFA blog. The Learning First Alliance is a partnership of 14 leading education associations with more than 10 million members dedicated to improving student learning in America’s public schools. I am a long-time fan of their blog, which provides reliably thoughtful edu-commentary aimed at strengthening public schools.

Seven Facts About Teacher Retention During the First Five Years

1. After 3 years, 1/3 of new teachers leave the field; after 5 years, almost half of new teachers have left. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

2. In inner city schools, 1/2 of new teachers quit within 3 years. (Source: U.S. Department of Education)

3. “Students in (Washington D.C.’s) poorest neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to have a new or second-year teacher as those in the wealthiest… The concentration of new teachers in low-income communities is ‘remarkably consistent’ across the nation.” (Source: Washington Post Monday, April 27, 2009, “Poor Neighborhoods, Untested Teachers.)

4. Approximately 1,000 U.S. teachers quit each day. (Source:

5. “Thousands of dollars walk out the door each time a teacher leaves.” According to a recent study by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, the costs of training, recruiting, and replacing teacher-leavers reached as high as $17,872 in some districts. (Source: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, “Cost of Teacher Turnover in Five School Districts”)

6. Teacher attrition costs the US over seven billion dollars each year. (Source: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education)

7. Beginning teachers go through several distinct phases during their first years on the job. The hardest part of the year for most teachers is the “disillusionment” phase, which usually begins in October and can last until winter break. (Source: The New Teacher Center)

Four Things on Which Almost All Teachers Agree (Washington Post / Answer Sheet)

As political debates about education become more public and more polarized, it can seem like educators don’t agree on much. In spite of a few divisive issues, however, teachers still share a lot of common ground. This post describes four statements with which almost all teachers agree – no matter what they think of the Common Core State Standards.

Disillusionment: The Mentor Edition (New Teacher Center)

If you are familiar with Ellen Moir’s widely circulated Phases of First-Year Teaching – or if you have experience mentoring beginning teachers – you already know what season it is. The disillusionment phase, which falls roughly between Halloween and Thanksgiving, is the time frame during which new teachers are most likely to burst into tears in public, type up resignation letters “just in case,” or fantasize about driving off a bridge on the way to work.

Rookies with the type of high quality mentor teachers provided by The New Teacher Center are the lucky ones.

Yet this season is no picnic for mentor teachers, either. The disillusionment phase is when new teachersare most likely to respond to your well-meaning suggestions with defensiveness, attitude, or a series of dejected “uh-huh”s. This post on the NTC blog shares a few tips for mentors to keep in mind as you guide newbies through November.


Interview: This Week in Education

This Week in Education, with Alexander Russo, is the most complete, comprehensive education news blog you could add to your RSS feed. It was also the first site to post an interview about the first edition of See Me After Class. I’m excited to be back on the blog in this interview about what’s new about the new edition.

Excerpt and Poem: Middleweb

MiddleWeb is a website for teachers of the middle grades. You’ll find articles highlighting great 4-8 resources, plus original interviews, book reviews, and guest posts by teachers, school leaders, experts in professional learning, and others who support the success of young adolescents. And… an excerpt and poem from See Me After Class.

What to Do After a Bad Day: Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo

This week’s “question-of-the-week” for Larry Ferlazzo’s Classroom Q&A Blog was: What do you do when you’re having a bad day in the classroom? How do you get over feelings of frustration? This post includes my answer along with answers from fellow authors Allan Mendler and Julia Thompson.

Book: Classroom Management Q&As, Expert Strategies for Teaching

Lots of people have answers in education, but no one has all the answers. Larry Ferlazzo knows this better than anyone. That’s why his Classroom Q&A blog, a go-to source for educators, features such a diverse group of contributors. In Classroom Management Q&A’s, Expert Strategies for Teaching, Ferlazzo gathers experts, authors, administrators, and star teachers in one place and lets them answer teachers’ most pressing classroom management questions.

The book is called Classroom Management Q&A, Expert Strategies for Teaching. All proceeds go to The National Writing Project.

I am proud to be included in this collection, answering the question of how teachers can get ready for the first day of school. My basic advice: Plan for interruptions. Plan for paper. Plan for sleep.