Educators Against Academic Excellence? Part 3

Posted on February 27, 2020

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This post is Part 3 of a 3-part series detailing my experiences as a high-achieving teacher and writing researcher in a district that was completely disinterested in my academic achievements or how the research could be used to improve the high school experience for students. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. 

Working in an educational institution that rejects academic research, ignores pleas from mental health experts, and refuses to listen to students who advocate for practices that allow them to feel, behave, and perform better in every aspect of life caused me great distress.

Were it not for the fact that I stayed connected with my college professors and professional organizations (links below), I might have lost my mind. The experience was akin, I imagine, to a cardiologist being forced to stand by helplessly while colleagues tell a patient for whom effective treatments exist, “There’s nothing we can do for you.” The stress was immense.

(Of course, I used mindfulness and self-care practices to cultivate resilience and well-being and continue to do so. I also continue to teach workshops in mindfulness and self-care for individuals and groups seeking to improve their quality of life. I’m looking forward to doing one for EMWP Teacher Consultants next month.)

After 25 years of fighting for a student-centered, research-based ELA program that allows students voice and choice as readers and writers, I finally came to realize that I would always be silenced and ignored. I had to admit that I would never be able to convince my colleagues that AHS students could become avid, skilled readers by reading entire books that they chose and enjoyed; that they could cultivate self-control, improve behavior, brain function, and well-being through mindfulness and self-care practices; or that they could become adept argument writers by using strategies found in the AHS curriculum and CRWP.

The situation was heart-breaking; for me, it will always be so.

I left the classroom–but the research continues.

I’m still full of questions; that will always be so.

A Writing Researcher at Work: A Pictorial History Slide Show

Click the link above to see photos of my published research.


Related Links

National Council of Teachers of English

Michigan Council of Teachers of English

Eastern MI Writing Project

National Writing Project

Michigan Reading Association

Modern Language Association

Leopold Education Project