1st Edition

Early Career English Teachers in Action
Learning from Experience, Developing Expertise

ISBN 9780415743426
Published September 12, 2014 by Routledge
210 Pages

USD $58.95

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Book Description

The first few years of teaching are critical to the professional development of effective English teachers. In these crucial years, new teachers establish their identities, learn the ins and outs of the curriculum, acclimate to unfamiliar communities, and cope with student behaviors that they never expected. All of this can be daunting for novice teachers. This book can help. The stories within are written by English teachers in the early stages of their careers. In their carefully crafted narratives, teachers offer practical strategies, professional insights, and a wealth of tips for surviving the first years in the classroom. The narratives are grouped into thematic chapters with brief introductions of key terms, helpful learning activities, and provocative discussion questions, all intended to foster critical conversation about beginning a career teaching English.

In a time when many teachers leave the profession too soon, Early Career English Teachers in Action gives voice to those who have decided to stay. More importantly, this book validates teacher narratives as a powerful way of understanding what happens inside of the classroom—a way that provides more authentic evidence of learning than standardized test scores will ever supply.

Table of Contents


Foreword, Lisa Schade Eckert

Chapter 1: Introduction
Why English School Teachers? Robert Rozema
Why Teacher Narratives? Lindsay Ellis

Chapter 2: School Culture
Introduction, Robert Rozema
Lessons from the Scrap Yard, Jeremy Battaglia
The Rules, Adam Kennedy
Lessons from the Slum, David Jagusch
Life Skills, Blaine Sullivan

Chapter 3: School Climate
Introduction, Robert Rozema
Loving and Leaving, Tami Teshima
Why the Hell Would You Teach There? Kristyn Konal

Chapter 4: Curriculum
Introduction, Lindsay Ellis
Kibera Sings, David Jagusch
Going Gradeless, Sierra Holmes
The Meaning of Success, Adam Kennedy

Chapter 5: Teacher Identity
Introduction, Lindsay Ellis
Absorbing Fear, Rejecting Fear, Bree Gannon
Integrity, Amanda Brown
Breaking My Rule, Lindsay Stoetzel
First Love, Sara VanIttersum
Holding their Stories, Tracy Meinzer

Chapter 6: Student Behavior
Introduction, Robert Rozema
The Exceptions, Adam Kennedy
Finding Your Focus, Jeremy Battaglia
Innocence and Experience, Amanda Brown
The Heart of Teaching, Tracy Meinzer


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Robert Rozema is Associate Professor of English (Secondary Education), Grand Valley State University, USA. Before coming to Grand Valley, he taught high school English for eight years.

Lindsay Ellis is Associate Professor of English, Grand Valley State University. USA. She directs the Lake Michigan Writing Project.


"This collection of beginning teacher stories provides authentic narrative voices that share the positive, neutral, and negative realities of teaching.  The vicarious experience serves as a means to help pre-service teachers envision their roles and the many choices, from overall career choices to the miniscule daily decisions, they will make as teachers…. and to meet contemporary and future challenges as public intellectuals, advocates for their students and communities, and pedagogical leaders who can usher in a new progressive era of education."

Lisa Schade Eckert, Northern Michigan University, USA. From the Foreword

"This is a gem of a book. It will stay on teachers’ shelves long after they have emerged through their teacher preparation programs and first years of teaching as an invaluable resource for thinking about their lives as teachers, their teaching, and the students and issues that confront them."

Melanie Sperling, University of California, Riverside, USA