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!

Overstepped from Above

Dear Sarah, How do you deal with situations where you’re overstepped and disrespected by those above you? I had a situation this year that I had no idea how to handle. Sincerely, Overstepped from Above Dear Overstepped from Above, It’s an awful feeling, isn’t it? That...

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Reflections on More than Disciplinarians

I often tell my students they should somehow be changed by the books they read. I ask them to pay attention to how they enter a text and see if they are different when they leave it. I suggest this is the mark of a worthwhile text; the ones that take us on a journey....

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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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