As I reflect on my teaching career, there is one area I did not give adequate attention – WRITING. Only in the last three years, was I able to fully understand how to incorporate reading, writing, listening, and speaking into a 75 minute block effectively and efficiently. No matter your content, students MUST read, write, listen and speak daily.

Dave Stuart publishes a wonderful graphic to assist teachers in ensuring writing is happening daily. He also stresses quantity over quality, at the beginning of the year, to get our students accustomed to writing.

The graphic is below. For those of you interested in the entire article, I have added the link –

REMEMBER: No matter your content, students must read, write, listen, and speak on a daily basis.

Thank you!


Learning Strategy: Think Like A Runner

If you are a teacher who does not follow Dave Stuart, Jr., I strongly suggest you do. Dave shares amazing instructional strategies which I often used in my classroom. In the future, you will see reposted items from Dave’s blog.

Happy reading!




For the past 24.5 years, I have had the distinct pleasure of teaching in a high poverty, urban middle school. I never aspired to be an administrator, and I loved every moment I spent in the classroom.

On July 1, I celebrated those fantastic years with family, friends and colleagues. The highlight of the retirement celebration was visiting with students I had the pleasure of teaching over the years. These students, who based on academic prowess alone, should have been counted out, but were instead thriving. My former students are gainfully employed, raising children, good citizens, and have grown into adults I am proud to have taught and even more proud to know.

As I listen to their memories of us as teacher and student, I am more assured than ever that I am on the right path to fulfill a new assignment – recruitment, support, and retention of teachers with the will and skill to teach in urban, public schools.

I recall reading about an impending teacher shortage at least ten years ago, but there was no apparent evidence of such. Today, the reality is setting in – the vanguard of teachers is retiring, few desire to be part of the profession, and those who do elect to become teachers are often dismayed, overworked, and underpaid. They quickly exit teaching for a more lucrative work experience. Yet, as I share memories with my former students and hear the requests of the students I taught during summer school, asking that I stay one more year, I know that I can not abandon educating students who come to school everyday with more challenges and survival skills that I will ever possess.

I ask for your support for Fostering Teachers, but I ask even more for your prayers. I’m unsure of the steps I am to take, but I have faith that my voice will be heard. I have faith that those who hear will support. I have faith that Fostering Teachers will make a difference in the lives of teachers and therefore the lives of students.

Thank you!

The Most Important Aspect of Teaching Is….

Speaking and Listening – A Non-Negotiable in Urban Schools

I follow Dave Stuart, Jr. Factually, it is because of Dave that I have this website. It is because of Dave that I wrote my goals and am actually pursuing them. I have implemented strategies Dave discusses in his blog, AND THEY WORK!!!  Dave Stuart, whether he knows it or not, is my self-appointed mentor.

Speaking and listening is an important skill in high poverty, urban schools. Our students don’t always come to us with practical understanding of how speaking and listening works outside the home. Instead, they bring to school what they know: cutting off the speaker, listening to respond instead of listening to understand; zoning out. If you doubt what I’m saying is true, scroll through Facebook. It is our teacher responsibility to teach this much-needed skill for our students’ future successes.

Take a moment to read the article in the link I’ve shared. Once you have recuperated from the school year and begin to prepare for the next, you won’t be disappointed.


Be A Strict Teacher….It’s OK!

This article is dear to my heart. Lengthy, but well worth it.

Black Teachers Matter. School Integration Doesn’t.

One goal of Fostering Teachers is to ensure high-quality educators are recruited, retained, and supported in urban, high poverty schools. In the commentary, the author quotes recent research:

“The study, issued last month by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, found that low-income black students who have just one black teacher in grades 3-5 are more likely to graduate and consider college, their likelihood of dropping out reduced by 29 percent. This is especially true for low-income black boys, whose dropout rates fall by a whopping 39 percent when a black teacher leads the class.”

Read the short commentary here:





A Radical Way to Transform Difficult Students

We have all had that one student who just irks us. I have one now. He asks questions I’ve already given answers to. In my heart-of-hearts, I know he’s doing it now just to irritate me. I like him well enough, but he gets on my nerve.

This article is for us!