"What Teaching Means: Stories from America's Classrooms"

A colleague of mine from the Nebraska Writing Project who teaches English at Ralston High School is currently working on editing and publishing a book--alongside his wife--to be released this April called What Teaching Means: Stories from America's Classrooms. Dan's an incredible teacher, and though I haven't met his wife, Marni, from what I know of their work on this book, they're quite the dynamic duo. I'm impressed with all they're doing in order to humanize students and teachers in a society that treats both more like machines. Not only did they commit to organizing, editing, and then publishing this book (with Rogue Faculty Press), but they're also organizing a series of readings across the country. The book's contributors span a wide geographical area stretching from Oregon to New York. I know they have a reading planned in Omaha, one in the works for the Ft. Collins area, and last I heard possibly one in Wisconsin. I don't know how they raise kids, stay married, teach, take classes, and work on a book together. They inspire me to be better, to teach with passion, and to work through the ugly days.

One of my essays will be published in the book--this is my first "real" publication (poems in college publications don't count), and I don't know how I managed to weasel my way in. As I read through the brief excerpts from the book and scour the teacher bios, I feel awkwardly out of place and humbled. The teachers whose essays are featured seem genuine and brilliant. These are people I'd want teaching my kids. And after reading just a portion of the book, I feel proud to be a teacher.

Dan and Marni created and maintained a blog to publicize the book where they feature snippets of essays featured in the book, a beautifully written preface, as well as reviews of the collection. You can also order a copy of the book from their blog. If you care at all about the state of education in our country, order a copy of What Teaching Means; you'll be encouraged by the stories.

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