#1 You May Not Read A Book You Dislike

He'll read if he can pick his own book and have time for it in class.

I instituted Independent Reading in all of my high school English classes for a half hour every Friday.  The first semester, many of my students didn’t get it.  They thought it was time to sleep, pass notes, text, doodle on the desks, do homework, do their hair, or meet in the library to socialize.  My fellow teachers informed me they didn’t have such time to spare in their classrooms, so I… Continue reading

Advanced Kids

When I was in sixth grade, the Visitation nuns sent me to seventh grade Literature, which meant I had to go up the stairs to the junior high hallway and sit with older girls who didn’t like me much.  I was scared of them and intimidated by the teacher, so I picked one of the desks closest to the wall, kept my knees together and my feet under my chair, and didn’t say much. We read David Copperfield, Treasure Island, Evangeline, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Wuthering Heights, and Jane… Continue reading

How to Raise Reading and Writing Test Scores

As an English teacher who has recently resigned, I’m no expert, but here’s my plan to raise reading and writing tests scores in middle school and high school.

1. Do not require English teachers to attend any seminars, presentations, or meetings on how to increase reading and writing test scores.

2. Do not put the poor readers and writers all together in the same class.

3. Do not require English teachers to write reflections in which they analyze students’ scores on 45-minute writing assessments taken at the beginning, middle, and… Continue reading