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Letters to a New Teacher: A Month-by-Month Guide to the Year Ahead / Edition 1

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Overview

Joy's questions and Jim's responses evoke in us an appreciation for what it means to do the work called teaching with the "living intensity of soul." May such soulful teaching flourish among us: here is a book that can help it be so.
- Parker Palmer and Sam Intrator
Every new teacher needs a mentor, someone smart, experienced, compassionate, and reliable to give advice, share strategies, and lend a supportive ear. What if every new English teacher could have one the nation's most-recognized master teachers as their mentor?

Now they can.

Letters to a New Teacher is the chance of a professional lifetime, an opportunity to read the letters and emails Jim Burke exchanged with novice teacher Joy Krajicek - letters in which Jim opens his practice, his mind, and his heart to guide Joy through her first year in the classroom. Jim fields the whole gamut of questions - from typical classroom-management matters to challenging instructional situations to sensitive topics like the boundaries of student-teacher relationships. His answers open the classroom experience up for novices to understand how to organize their space and time, how to plan instruction yet maintain flexibility, how to communicate effectively with the two-hundred personalities they encounter each day, and how to maintain professionalism under pressure.

As gentle, humorous, and supportive as they are practical, Jim's responses to Joy's questions are immediately useful and are presented in chronological order. From August through June, you'll watch as her questions become increasingly complex and see how Jim's answers build upon one another to create a considered, consistent, and disciplined way of thinking about the teaching of English.

Start a your career the right way. Read Letters to a New Teacher and put the thoughts of a master mentor to work in your classroom. Or give Letters to a New Teacher to a novice so they can discover a wellspring of ideas, a source for emotional sustenance, and a buoy for their spirits during difficult moments.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325009230
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 1/13/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 372,459
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 5.72 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Burke is the author of numerous bestselling Heinemann titles, including the English Teacher's Companion, Fourth Edition and What's the Big Idea? The question he's always tried to answer is "How can we teach our students better?" He seeks these answers daily through his work in his own classroom at Burlingame High School in California where he still teaches after twenty years. Facing the same constraints and challenges as every other teacher, Jim shares his creative solutions in bestselling professional titles with Heinemann such as Reading Reminders and Writing Reminders as well as through Heinemann Professional Development Services. As part of his commitment to helping teachers and learning how to use the latest technologies, he founded the English Companion Ning, described by Education Week as "the world's largest English department" and winner of several Edublog Awards for Best Social Network for Education. In addition to the EC Ning, Jim offers a steady stream of recommended resources through his website (www.englishcompanion.com) and Twitter (@englishcomp) where he is ranked in the top 100 educators to follow at the top within the online English teacher community. Jim serves on several national commissions related to adolescent literacy and standards, including the Advanced Placement English Literature and Language Course and Exam Review Commission with the College Board and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) where he serves on the Content Technical Working Group, which advises PARCC on the national assessments being developed for the Common Core State Standards. In addition, he is a senior author on the Holt McDougal Harcourt Literature series. Jim has received numerous awards, including the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award, the NCTE Conference on English Leadership Award, and the California Reading Association Hall of Fame Award. He served on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Committee on Adolescence and Young Adulthood English Language Arts Standards. Through his work in the class and on such commissions, Jim Burke seeks not only to clarify but reimagine what English should be, honoring the past even as he works with others to create the future of the discipline he loves so much. Visit his website (www.englishcompanion.com) for more information.

Joy Krajicek received a degree in English and Social Science at Bethany College in Santa Cruz, California. She has also completed an MA in education and is working on a second masters degree. Currently she is a teacher at her alma mater, Homestead High School in Sunnyvale, California, enjoying the opportunity to work in the community where she lives.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : living the questions 1
1 Managing a class of thirty-five 4
2 Creating a teaching unit 9
3 Handling pressure 13
Interlude 1 : a difficult student 19
4 Challenging all students and meeting their challenges 21
5 Knowing that you make a difference 29
6 Approaches to teaching writing 37
Interlude 2 : getting discouraged ... 46
7 Engaging students and competing for their attention 48
8 Poetry for teachers and students 54
Interlude 3 : absences and substitutes 61
9 What works and why? 64
10 Different types of teacher personalities 71
11 Professional reading 78
12 Harnessing self-doubt 84
13 Learning the most from each semester's experiences 90
14 Managing your time 96
Interlude 4 : working to improve 103
15 The teacher's power 110
Interlude 5 : sexual abuse 114
16 Boundaries 115
17 The teacher's role during a classroom crisis 121
18 Student suicide 125
19 Teacher/parent relationships 131
Interlude 6 : juggling the demands of teaching and living 146
20 Open house 147
Interlude 7 : applying for a new teaching job 152
Interlude 8 : testing season 154
21 End-of-year challenges and expectations 157
22 Doing it all, especially with a family 163
Dear Joy : a final letter 173
Dear Jim : a final letter 175
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