Valued and Validated: Making Time for Journaling

Valuing and validating your students’ voices is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Here are four reasons responding to student journals should become part of your teaching practice.

By Adrin Fisher

When I was a girl, I always had a diary. I remember one in particular. It was red and white, with a cover photograph of Annie, beaming in her “Daddy Warbucks” dress. Many years later, when I was going through a rough patch in college, someone suggested that I keep a “Blessings Journal.” Rather than record activities, you list three good things from the day. That’s all. Simple. Quick. Transformational.

Daily journaling is a discipline that few undertake, but quickwrites in the classroom seem more common. In the PLC I facilitate in my school, we’ve been reading some of the most prominent current voices in teaching English, Kittle and Gallagher. In their books, particularly in 180 Days, they have “notebook time.” They ask students to collect, study, and then imitate techniques writers use as well as to generate their own thinking (2018, p. 35-36). They differentiate their writer’s notebooks from a standard classroom journal by creating different sections for collection and writing. Done in this way, the journal becomes a tool for reading engagement and skill development.

Journaling was not a big part of my education. As a student, I only had two teachers who required journals. First, my greatest and most favorite teacher, Linda Orr Morgan, had us purchase steno notebooks for AP English. She gave us prompts and pages to fill, and then responded in her distinctive handwriting. Because I looked up to her, I felt honored that she spent time reading my thoughts. Later at WVU, I had Dr. Cheryl Torsney for an American Lit survey. She collected responses to Whitman and Rowlandson and wrote back. Again, I was baffled that a professor cared about what I had to say. The fact that both of these teachers required, and most importantly RESPONDED TO, the journals of their students amazed me. I felt valued and validated.

Even so, requiring and reading journals didn’t enter my own teaching practice for many years. After I’d been teaching 7th grade Reading and Language Arts for a while, a fresh first-year teacher took over the co-teach section. I remember watching Stacey Angelo pull one spiral notebook after another from a crate. She said, “It’s no big deal. I just read the entries and write ‘LOL’ or add a comment or question.” She collected journals every Friday and read them all. Because of her enthusiasm, I began doing journals too. And like my teacher-mentors, I read them all. And since that day, about fourteen years ago now, I’ve done them with every student, every year.

A caveat: I do not have students journal every day. That’s too much for me. Many days, we are doing Daily Grammar Practice as bell ringers, or we’re handing in essays, or getting out laptops.

Another caveat: Grading journals is time-consuming. I drag a crate home and spend a few hours over the weekend going through and responding. Unlike Stacey Angelo, I don’t pick them up every week—but sometimes I wish I did. I have found that somehow, anything over ten entries seems to double the grading time. It’s a trick of the mind, but a significant one.

One last caveat: In my classes, journal grades are based on completion. I ask for a half-page of thinking and I never correct grammar or usage. And the half-page mark is subjective too, as it depends on handwriting size and spacing. It’s kind of fun to take a break from the laser focus of correction in favor of just listening in. Because I’m essentially grading participation, this is a low-point value assignment—normally, 5 points per entry.

A class of journals, ready to be graded.

I’ve had many, many teacher-friends—including my husband—tell me I’m crazy for grading journals. So, why do I bother?

Well, first of all, I do it to provide a way for students to engage the material. To begin Hamlet, I ask students to write about ghosts. Partway through Act 2 of Macbeth, I ask the kids to talk about “the domino effect.” In A Separate Peace, I wonder how they feel about competition between friends. In The Canterbury Tales, I ask them to imagine which pilgrims they’d invite over for dinner. Best practice demonstrates that students respond out loud more precisely and more confidently if they respond in writing first. And this method fits squarely in Hunter’s anticipatory set model.

Who knew that Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” fit with Beowulf so perfectly?

More importantly, I use journals as a way to get to know my students. In a recent article on Edutopia, teacher Sarah Yost writes about the importance of knowing her students. The three strategies she presents are ones that I, too, have used for many years. This journaling thing, though, is the icing on the cake. My students reveal their thinking. They name their heroes. They tell family traditions. They share superstitions. They connect heavy metal songs to literature. Sometimes they share secrets—ones that I have to follow up with—or talk about conflicts. Sometimes they’re silly. Often they are writing—just writing—in their own unique voices.

Writing like this is a simple way to help develop an authorial voice. Kids aren’t worried about grammar or spelling or supporting a thesis. Journaling gives them space to just be, for a few quiet minutes in an otherwise frenetic high school day.

Journaling supports content generation. When preparing to take on dual-credit English 12 with a local university this year—a first for my school and a first for me—I met with a couple of professors. One said that she gives class time to write informally, as she’s found that college freshmen have trouble filling pages. To be sure, my dual-credit students have complained that I’m not telling them what to write about or how to write about it:  it’s up to them to choose the models that work for their pieces and then think of ideas, and then support their ideas. So, of course, I’ve required journals during this first semester. And I’ve read every word.

Imitating a mentor text to add sentence variety.

I love it. I don’t look forward to the stacks of journals. I complain to my husband. Some entries are really boring, and sometimes the handwriting is indecipherable—even to English-teacher eyes. And I always have a zillion other things to do, lessons to prep, dinner to cook. But then there are the entries that make me laugh or push me to think or make me angry or open a window into these teenage lives. Because high school can be hard. Life can be relentless. I learn so much about these kids through reading and responding to their journals. I hear their voices. I value them. I’m a better teacher—and a better person—because of it. 

So, when you’re thinking about impactful instructional strategies and you’re weighing cost versus benefit, I would encourage you, teacher-friend, to do it. While you may choose to land on the side of “ungraded practice” like Kittle and Gallagher, you may also choose to try my way: read it all, goofy ideas and improper syntax and creative spelling and all. Resist the urge to mark corrections and take the opportunity to ask them questions, to laugh, or cry or commiserate or suggest books or movies or restaurants.

And if you already make journaling a habit with your students, I thank you.

Remember that hearing your students’ voices is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. 

Remember that as a trusted adult, your response matters.

At a holiday party last weekend, my uncle, a retired school bus driver, told me about a girl who used to ride his bus. She used to sit up front because she didn’t have many friends, and he’d give her candy and chat as they drove along. She’s in her 30s now, but she came to visit recently. She told my uncle how much his kindness meant to her. How her grandfather whom she’d loved had passed away when she was a kid and how, simply talking to her and giving her candies from his jacket pocket, my uncle comforted her. Uncle Richard just shook his head as he told the story, amazed that she remembered such a simple thing. “You just don’t know,” he said, “how you’re making a difference every day.”

What a gift you have, teacher-friend, in your capacity to touch students’ lives meaningfully. All it takes is the willingness to respond.

WVCTE wants you to contribute to the conversation. How does journaling impact your classroom experience? Leave us a question or comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

Adrin Fisher is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. She wishes you grace. She’s a National Board Certified Teacher smack in the middle of her twenty-second year of teaching and currently working with seniors in co-teaches and dual-credit classes, and honors-level sophomores. When she’s not surrounded with her prep calendars and a pile of essays, encouraging and supporting her colleagues, or teaching Shakespeare “like a boss,” you can find her reading, tree bathing in a wintry park, writing in her current composition book, or re-watching the Star Wars saga with her family. You can follow her on Twitter @fisheradrin

Novel(ty) November

Teacher-friend, escape the drab November of the soul by injecting novelty into your days: lean into life and take a chance. Here are three concrete ways for you do have a Novel November personally and professionally.

By Adrin Fisher

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul…I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”  So begins Moby Dick.

Now, I have never felt the urge to take to sea—probably owing to my landlocked upbringing in the Mountain State, and to the fact that lots of big, deadly things live in the sea—but I can still identify with Melville’s sentiments about escape.

October is the month of glory: the trees are bright, the sky is blue, and the air is crisp.

But November heralds the dark, wet death of the year. The leaves blow down and gather in sloppy wet piles against walls. That large murder of crows returning to their roost down by the river becomes ominous. And spring—and the sweetness of high school graduation—seems impossibly distant.

Truly, the November of the soul is upon us, teacher friend. Between the NAEP results showing that our students are not, in fact, number one, the flurry of end-of-quarter parent emails, and strikes and rumors of strikes, the stresses of teaching can feel overwhelming. 

So how can you combat the cold, November rain?

One way is to inject a little bit of novelty into your long work days. To head to sea, if you will.

Blast into the Past!

When my school underwent an extensive renovation a few years ago, the library decided to part with its delightful collection of bound periodicals. As one who came-of-age in the 1990s, I have fond memories of searching the stacks of my local university looking for a particular magazine article for my research paper. Well, I’m not sure how fond those memories are, but I am fond of realizing how much easier research has gotten since my high school days. 

Anyway, I saved ten bound volumes of Life magazine from World War II years. Once a year, I pull them out and let the sophomores flip through them in order to get a sense of the setting of A Separate Peace. While they’re at it, they choose a “current event” and analyze an accompanying photo using a worksheet created at the National Archives.  It always surprises me how much my students love this—who knew paging through a giant, dusty book of old magazines could be so fun? My favorite comments include “They could advertise that?” and “Are those actual dead bodies?”

Students analyze a photo about a polygamist family.
Students analyze a 1940 photo showing a polygamist family.

I would imagine that, with a little effort, you too can scrape up some bound periodicals. Or, with some digging, you can access period advertisements or photos online.

Understanding historical context is a powerful analytical lens. And, as we know, we need to help students become critical consumers of media, so this activity pulls double duty. Novelty for the win!

NaNoWriMo Strikes Again!

Though the times change, there are some things we can count on. One of these is National Novel Writing Month. According to its website, “The challenge: draft an entire novel in just one month. For 30 wild, exciting, surprising days, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!”

There are many resources available to intrepid teachers who want to guide their students through writing their own novels, including everything from lesson plans to student workbooks to classroom kits. The program is totally free and it maintains a large social media presence, including real-time challenges on Twitter, Pep Talk videos and emails, and a whole host of supports. 

But for you—teacher friend—for you, there’s also the concept of you devoting yourself to something for you. If writing a set number of words in 30 days is too daunting (50,000 is a big number), you can try my modified version:  writing for a set amount of time per day (20 minutes). That’s workable. And rewarding!

Whether you choose to take your students on this ride or do this one solo, NaNoWriMo is definitely a novel approach.

Pressure Makes Perfect!

My final tested and true idea to inject some novelty into this month comes in the form of a contest format. For the past couple of years, I’ve tried my hand at the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction contest.

It starts out in July with a few thousand writers who are divided into heats for each round of the competition. With the entry fee, you are guaranteed to write the first two stories; the top five in each group move on to the third round, and then the top three in your new group move on to the final.

The trick here—and the fun!—is that each round of the contest runs for precisely 48 hours.  You’re assigned a genre, a location, and an object. And it’s totally random, as you can see below. I was assigned to write a 1,000-word historical fiction story that took place in a cement plant and featured a massage table. This weekend’s story was quite a challenge!

This is a sampling of the creative prompts of NYC Midnight contests.

For me, the NYC Midnight contest has been a game-changer. I respond to the pressure, setting aside all the other things crowding my plate (including the 80 essays I could have marked this weekend…) and working those 1,000 words. The contest has pushed me creatively:  I’ve written a romantic comedy, a mystery, a couple of horror stories—all genres I never would have attempted. In addition, all writers get quality feedback from three judges for each story—whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.

Now, of course, you can’t expect your students to pay to enter a writing contest. And maybe you’re not interested in it either. However, you can replicate the idea. In fact, after reading some thrillers to celebrate Halloween (like the disturbing “Hop-Frog” by Edgar Allan Poe), my sophomores drew a location, a murder weapon, and an additional object to incorporate into their original horror stories. To replicate the pressure, they had a time limit and a word limit. After we finished writing and shared our horror stories, the kids unanimously voted to try this high-pressure writing again. A novel approach yields results, every time.

Head to Sea

So teacher-friend, escape the drab November of the soul by injecting novelty into your days: lean into life and take a chance. 

As naturalist Edwin Way Teale wrote, “How sad would be November if we had no knowledge of the spring!”

We know what’s coming—both in terms of the weather and in terms of the flowering of all these students in our care—and it’s going to be beautiful.

WVCTE wants you to contribute to the conversation. What new ideas get you through the dark days of teaching? Leave us a question or comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

The picture shows a table with a stack of essays, books, and calendars, an open computer and two small journals.  One is open with notes written; the other is closed and says "Create your own happiness" on the cover.
Part of my weekend’s work and play.

Adrin Fisher is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. She wishes you novelty and peace. She’s a National Board Certified Teacher smack in the middle of her twenty-second year of teaching and currently working with seniors in co-teaches and dual-credit classes, and honors-level sophomores. When she’s not surrounded with her prep calendars and a pile of books, encouraging and supporting her colleagues, or conferencing with budding writers, you can find her reading with her kids, tree bathing in the park, or dreaming about life and readings in her current composition book. You can follow her on Twitter @fisheradrin

On a Mission

Students should be the prime stakeholders in their education. Let’s teach our students to create the future they choose. Vision Letters and Mission Statement Collages can help students set goals for life.

By Adrin Fisher

Once upon a time, I taught an English “lab” class. I’d have a group of freshmen for two extra periods in a six-day cycle. My teammates and I treated the time as an enrichment opportunity. We (the Babes of English) taught from the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey. A best-seller on Amazon, this book outlines paradigm-changing habits of mind that lead to success.

Though I no longer teach those English labs, there is one habit that became ingrained in my teaching: Begin with the End in Mind.

Naturally, we teachers have expectations. At the beginning of the year, we set classroom rules, cell phone policies, small group expectations, discussion norms. Every day, I explain rubrics, display model projects and journal entries, and write on the document camera in front of their eyes. And yet, it’s not enough.

Students should be the prime stakeholders in their education. With that in mind, here are two ways for STUDENTS to set their own expectations.

Vision Letter

Right at the beginning of the year, I ask students to write a Vision Letter.

I first heard of this idea at a High Schools That Work conference in Atlanta. The teacher had all students write themselves a letter explaining why this (current) school year had been the best year ever…dated on the last day of this current year. It takes a bit of imagination to explain (and some fancy tenses to write about), but students write about things they will have accomplished by June. For example, students write about maintaining an Honor Roll GPA or getting their license, asking a date to homecoming, graduating or improving their social skills or winning a state championship ring. Every August for fifteen years, I’ve asked my kids to imagine having achieved their goals in the next ten months.

They write their vision for the school year on a piece of brightly colored paper. I collect and read the letters—adding to my personal notes about each student new information about his life or goals—and file them away until the last week of school. I love watching my seniors pull those bright pages out of their diploma envelopes after they’ve walked across the stage in their caps and gowns. They did it, and they saw it coming.

Mission Statement Collage

The Mission Statement Collage is my favorite opening activity for seniors—a staple in my co-teaches and my dual-credits alike.

First, we figure out what a mission statement is. Then we look at examples—everything from the Preamble to the US Constitution to Starbucks’s plan for world domination (“one cup at a time”). I ask students to think deeply about their lives and who they want to be, but I do it with simple questions like, “If you could have dinner with any person dead or alive, who would it be and why?” Using examples from Covey’s book, we talk about options for their statements: sentences or bullet points; song lyrics; a quotation from another writer; an acrostic poem; a phrase.

Then they’re on their own to set their mission.

And finally, they decorate it.  Using magazines, photos, clip art, stickers, or drawings, they create a 5×8 collage that shows what their mission looks like.

I want them to share these statements with their classmates and families.

To post them by their mirrors or on their bedroom walls.

To read them every day. 

To stay focused and on mission. 

To be the best people they can be.

All of these goals—they’re my goals, my dream for their lives. And while it’s important that I see my students for who they CAN and WILL be, it’s not enough.

The goals that will make a difference—THE difference—are the goals THEY set.

Teacher-friends, let’s give our students the tools and the vision to create positive, life-long habits.

Let’s teach them to create the future they choose.

WVCTE wants you to contribute to the conversation. How do you help students invest in their own lives? Leave us a question or comment, Tweet us your thoughts @WVCTE, or connect with us on Facebook!

Adrin Fisher is a contributing blogger for WVCTE. When she’s not surrounded with her prep calendars and a pile of books, encouraging and supporting her colleagues, or conferencing with budding writers, you can find her reading with her kids, tree bathing in the park, or taking notes on life in her current composition book. You can follow her on Twitter @fisheradrin

Getting to Know Your Students with Writing

By Karla Hilliard

The single most important thing we can do as teachers is know our students and honor their identities. 

Without intentionally seeking to learn our students’ names, experiences, cultures, communities, faiths, families, and evolving selves, we erode the opportunity for real connection and deep and meaningful learning. 

Many of you, like me, are back to the back-to-school grind, and I’m sure that you, like I, sat through a few meetings focused on data and subsequent plans to move and improve the numbers in the spreadsheets. 

I count myself lucky to work in a school where our administrators focus on far more than “raising scores” and instead turn their attention to the human endeavor of teaching. On the Talks With Teachers podcast, guest Les Burns, University of Kentucky professor and co-author of Teach On Purpose: Responsive Teaching for Student Success, says, “Getting to know your students is the best data you can collect.” 

Of course, one of the best ways I collect “data” is through student writing. Writing can be a deeply private act, making us feel vulnerable, but it is an act that is meant to be shared with others and often leads to real connection. And it is this connection that allows for community and learning. 

I’m here to offer a few assignments that invite students to writing, so you can begin to learn who your students are and where they come from. 

1. Write a Letter

Y’all. I love letters—writing letters, receiving letters, sending letters, reading the collected letters of others. I’ve written about a simple assignment I call the Lit Letter here, and Jeni Kisner has written about persuasive letters here

My friend and teacher mentor Susan Barber recently wrote a letter introducing herself to her students, and riffing off of the Lit Letter, asked her students to respond to both her letter and to a selected poem, either “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver or “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith. 

Click HERE to read Susan’s welcome letter. 

Like the idea of letter writing, but you’d rather save the poems for later? Check out Tricia Ebarvia’s beautiful welcome letter to her 10th grade students

What I especially appreciate and admire about both of these teachers and writers is they’re doing the work they’re asking their students to and providing them the most authentic mentor texts possible. Plus, it’s easy! No fancy handouts or slideshows needed. 

2. Write a Poem 

If you’re interested in welcoming your students back to school with poetry, these three will get them thinking, feeling, and writing. 

See the original assignment here by Linda Christensen on Rethinking Schools. I especially love what Christensen offers in saying, “Part of my job as a teacher is to awaken students to the joy and love that they may take for granted, so I use poetry and narrative prompts that help them “see” daily gifts, to celebrate their homes and heritages.”

This idea for an assignment popped up in a #TeachLivingPoets chat. Joel Garza suggested inviting students to create a poem praising something about themselves and beginning their poem like Nezhukumatathil with the line “Because I was taught all my life to…” What a lovely way to encourage deep thinking and self acceptance. 

Last fall, Jess struck gold with this introductory writing activity. Smith’s work resonates with students and pushes them to explore ideas in their own authentic voices. See examples from Jess’s classroom here, where one student spun lines like: “But am more afraid of opening my arms like branches/ and trusting you to let me bloom again/ after I’ve gone bare”

The directions for each poem are simple: 

1. Teach the poem, relying on your favorite close reading and discussion activities to get your students invested in the poem. 

2. Ask students to build a list of noticings and writers moves. What do students notice about the poem? What craft choices does the writer make? What features of language contribute to the effect of the poem?

3. Invite students to write their own poem inspired by the mentor text poem. 

3. Write about Reading 

Imagine explaining who you are through the journey of only four books. 

Here’s a post by Adrian Nester outlining her four book reading journey and challenging students to create a list of their own.  

I absolutely love this idea in building a culture of reading while learning valuable information about our students. Adrian says, “There are no great tomes of literary merit on my list. Just the ones that made a difference to me as a reader.”

This assignment is an exciting opportunity for students to revisit the books that have made a difference to them and think ahead to the ones in the “to be read” pile and the ways the impact they might create in their lives. 

WVCTE is wondering…

How will YOU get to know your students and how will you get them writing? Leave us a comment, connect with us on Facebook, Tweet us @WVCTE!

I’d love to hear from you! – Karla

Karla Hilliard is a teacher and writer living in the Eastern Panhandle. She serves as the Co-Director and President of WVCTE. She is also the co-founder of the nonprofit More Than Addiction, whose mission is to humanize addiction. She is in her 15th year of teaching high school English and currently teaches English 11 Honors and Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, and mentors the Poetry Club at Spring Mills High School.  

Karla is a contributing writer for and loves hot coffee, homemade biscuits, and West Virginia. When she’s not teaching, she’s spending time with her friends and family. 

You can connect with her on Twitter @karlahilliard.

Filling My Bucket

By: Toni M. Poling

There is something about the first few days of the month of May that makes me happy.  The air is perfumed with lilac and the books in my classroom windowsills are dappled with sunlight.  If there was a Maypole outside, I wouldn’t be able to resist dancing around it.

There is also something about the first few days of the month of May that makes my blood pressure skyrocket. The days in the school year are numbering fewer and fewer but my “To Do” list continues to grow longer and longer. My calendar resembles the one in the 1-800-Contacts commercial used by the lady who can’t fit in an optometrist appointment because she has to take her cat to the masseuse, though my issue is more likely taking my kid to the orthodontist.


This is the point in the year where my tank is empty, my bucket is empty, even my classroom pencil holder is empty!  Every container I have has a gauge that reads “E,” but my classroom remains full of students and I have to figure out a way to give them what they need.  I have to find a way to fill my bucket.

Let the Students Fill Your Bucket

Recently, I presented at two statewide conferences: ECET2 and the WVCTE conference.  At both conferences, I presented on what I call transparent teaching.  For me, transparent teaching is essentially acknowledging to my students that the “why” and “how” of what I’m teaching and the pedagogy involved deserves an answer.  It’s checking in with my students to make sure I’m meeting their needs.  It’s keeping them in the loop and really listeningto their feedback.

One tenant of the teaching profession I do my best to live by is that teachers should be reflective practitioners.  I consider it part of my job responsibilities to actively reflect on my teaching, learning objectives, and curricular decisions to ensure I am making the best decisions for my students.  It occurred to me some time ago that my students should be involved in those processes as well.  After all, they are an integral component in my classroom equation.

My PLC at school has been focusing this year on 180 Days, the latest collaborative work from Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. In the text (which I LOVE), they discuss using book clubs (similar to the literature circles many of us remember from our pasts).  I curated some novel sets, let the students sign up for the novel of their choice, and provided time for discussion.  The groups kept discussion logs and I floated from group to group to sit in and join the conversation.  I loved it! Group discussions around books are some of my favorite things!  At the end of the unit, my students’ culminating assignments were a book review (think Amazon-style) of the novel they selected AND a reflection paper on the book club experience itself.  Admittedly, when it was time to read the reflection papers, I was a little nervous.  I knew the book clubs hadn’t run perfectly and there are definitely changes I will make before I do them again, but I had enjoyed the experience so much that I really wanted to make sure my students had enjoyed it, too.  Even more than that, I needed to know that they had learned during the process.

When I read the reflection papers, I was struck by how insightful my students were.  The papers provided excellent insight in to ways to increase the scholarly conversations that were occurring.  One in particular suggested doing a modified Socratic seminar (a technique we’ve used in class many times) to provide an opportunity for whole class sharing from the small groups:

“I think it would be beneficial to split the discussion time up; for part of the class, allow the people in each group to gather and discuss the book they read and gather their thoughts. For the second part of the discussion period, allow the books to form one circle (similar to the Socratic seminar setup we did for the discussion of Robert Frost’s poems) and give each group a specific amount of time to discuss the novel they read and compare/contrast various aspects of each novel.”  (Emma)

I will definitely be incorporating this in to the next round of book clubs!


Perhaps the most surprising part of the students’ book club reflection papers is the personal notes the kids included.  Some of these personal notes brought tears to my eyes and they all contributed to refilling my bucket.  Some of the comments discussed connections to previous activities:

“During the first book club, I finally realized the fruit of our labor in class when we hadstudent-led discussions. Time and time again [Mrs.] Poling led us in discussions on pieces of literature and during book club I felt as if the training wheels were off and I was doing great. Our discussions were pertinent to today’s society as well as our book, they were intellectual and philosophical conversations in which everyone who was present benefitted.”  (Jacob)

Others were more personal:

“Lastly, thank you for this book club experience, I enjoyed my partner, the book (for themost part it was a little sad), and the discussion time in class.”  (Maleri)

There is no better feeling than when a student acknowledges, recognizes, and appreciates the efforts we put forth in our teaching.

The bottom line is that we all need to acknowledge that sometimes our buckets are low. Sometimes they even feel empty. It’s at those times that we need to find a way to fill our own buckets, take some time for ourselves, so that we can get back to being the types of teacher- leaders our schools and our professions need us to be.

WVCTE is wondering how you fill your bucket at this pointing the year?