Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bring me your tired, your poor, your teachers...

Children and their teacher at school in Chelse...Image via Wikipedia
How many hours have YOU wasted trying to create the perfect lesson?  You know the drill.  The school board is breathing down your neck with new regulations and mandates.  Your lesson templates MUST match the brand new benchmarks that are only slightly different from last year, but are numbered as such that you cannot copy and paste them AT ALL.  The state achievement test scores have been raised, and now it seems that the fate of the WORLD AS WE KNOW IT rests on your ability to get your students to pass that test! 

With all the red tape, political agendas, and paper trail BUSY WORK, even an idealist like me can get sucked into the quagmire of Educational Cynicism.  But, I'm here to tell you folks, THERE IS HOPE.  THERE IS A SOLUTION.  (And I'm not even getting paid to say any of this).

If you are a secondary teacher of Language Arts or Creative Writing, you CAN'T AFFORD NOT to visit the English Teacher's Friend. Because "It's about your time." 

The website, English Teacher's Friend, is run by Tamara Doehring.*  I first learned about Tamara when she came to lead a workshop with our English Department.  It was PHENOMENAL, the best workshop I have EVER BEEN TO.  When she left, we all stood around asking our department chair, "Why did it take us 8 years to get her to our school?  Where was she when I was a first year teacher?"

This website is the most VALUABLE resource I have come across in my near decade of teaching.  My parents, who have a combined total of EIGHTY years teaching experience (yikes!), also think the material offered on the ETF is the "highest caliber they have seen in quite some time." **  

The site offers free lesson plans that are truly geared to ACTUAL LEARNING, HIGHER ORDER THINKING, and not just slapdash, busy work assignments.  It also has videos, book recommendations, workshops, the list continues, you just need to check it out for yourself. 

Additionally, premium membership starts at just $10/month and includes lessons custom tailored TO YOUR NEEDS!  Just email Tamara and tell her what you are working on, she's your own assistant!  (THIS IS WORTH IT MY FRIENDS!) Premium members may also write up a wish list of items they would like for their classroom, and then Tamara matches your requests with her sponsors.  JACKPOT! 

Seriously, the English Teacher's Friend is a gold mine for teachers, and I just had to share it with all my bloggy friends.  I know that many of you are writers and not teachers, but you might have friends who could benefit from this.  I speak as a woman who has a life thanks to this website; enough of a life, that I can take some time for myself and start writing my novel WHILE I am still teaching!  You can also follow the ETF on twitter, and on facebook.

That being said, this is preplanning week, so you won't see many updates from me: I am busy getting my room ready.  I am very excited, my principal moved me back to 11th grade again, (which I have taught for many years) so it's like coming home.  Our creative writing elective has grown- we now offer Creative Writing I/II in two different periods instead of just one, AND we are expanding our literary magazine. Last year it was only published online, but this year we will publish an online and print version.  There is MUCH to do this year.  

Thanks for sticking with me through my rambling post.  You all are fantastic, I'm glad I made such wonderful friends at WriteOnCon!

* Tamara is my crit partner for my current WIP, Elementals, and she is made of a substance greater than awesome.  She pushes me, and encourages me, and is the voice of sanity when I want to jump off a cliff.  She gets me.  She is also working on a novel, and when it is published (because it is subsequently made of awesome) you will be drawn to it like a moth to a flame! #predictionsthatcometrue

**my parents are elementary school teachers (dad 5th grade, mom 2nd grade), but they can attest to ETF offering HIGH QUALITY lessons, and it significantly decreased my C.B.O.B.S (crabbiness brought on by stress)

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