Question & Response

I’ve had the incredible privilege of learning from so many amazing educators across the country as the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and during my time as Teacher Laureate for the Teaching Channel. There have been conversations and experiences, classrooms and exhibit halls, and always, always there have been questions: those necessary catalysts of curiosity, instigators for incisive thinking.

Welcome to Ask Sarah, a weekly advice column, where it’s teacher to teacher, learner to learner. My 18 years in the high school English classroom have taught me many lessons, but few as poignant as the power of questions and the belief that a good question is always better than a right answer. So, consider this a space where we value and tackle the messy questions, where we seek honest responses and try to cultivate some wisdom along the way. I can’t wait to see how we open teaching together!

Tense Staff Meetings

Dear Sarah, My question is concerning change... more specifically how to foster change within a teaching staff? We attempted a vertical alignment meeting at the end of the previous school year, it was a tense meeting that produced little to no change. As we begin this...

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Ask Sarah’s Students

If there’s one thing teenagers have taught me it’s that there’s no truth serum like students. That’s why I decided to take three of your questions and bring in some guest responders: my students! It’s true that part of exercising teacher voice is liberating student...

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Losing Love of Teaching

Dear Sarah, I don’t think I love teaching anymore. There are loads of initiatives being dumped on us and who I once was as a teacher is lost. What do I do? Sincerely, Losing Love of Teaching Dear Losing Love of Teaching, A handful of years ago I found myself at the...

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Remembering Great Ideas

Dear Sarah, How do I keep track of changes I want to make for next year? I find that I always have these great ideas and think “oh I’ll remember that” and then next year comes along and I can’t remember, or I remember too late. Sincerely, Remembering Great Ideas...

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Balancing it All

Dear Sarah, How do you balance your teaching with everything else going on in your life (parenting, national work, etc)? Sincerely, Balancing it All Dear Balancing it All, This is going to sound less like a column and more like a confession. I’m wired to collect and...

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A Year of Ask Sarah

52 weeks. Hundreds of questions. Thousands of words. Countless teachers making a difference. That’s what my first year of writing this column has been: a through line into this wonderful community of educators who continue to converge around questions, to unite in...

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