Category Archives: The Emotional Life of Teachers

“Where is The Love?,” Molly Swick

In our attempts to make this a more peaceful planet, with more love than fear, more justice than injustice, more healing than harm… hope and love, as ontological needs for transforming society, are crucial elements in effective classrooms. A loving educational philosophy is imperative, yet insufficient without practical applications for creating a safe learning environment. Examining the teacher/student relationship, moving from banking to problemposing education, dialoguing as a pedagogical tool, respecting lived experiences, striving for oneness in difference, and embracing love, hope and humility will be included in the discussion. I will use, as a background for the workshop, my dissertation topic: “The Social Justice Theories of Paulo Freire as a Pedagogical Language of Hope.” Come help me change the world!!!


“Poetry, Inner Work, and Holistic Writing Groups,” Stan Scott

In this session we will look at poetry as a form of inner work that leads to greater self-awareness, emotional engagement, and movement toward maturity on the part of students. We will do some writing and other activities that demonstrate what I call holistic practices in writing groups—with the instructor present in every group—that have led to truly amazing results in my own teaching as well as students’ lives.

Plenary Session with Sheridan Blau

Sheridan Blau

SHERIDAN BLAU teaches in the Education and English departments at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also directs the South Coast Writing Project. A past President of the National Council of Teachers of English, he has served as the senior consultant for the development of California’s statewide language arts assessment, and on the panel that developed the assessment instruments and scoring procedures for certifying teachers applying for National Board Certification in the English Language Arts. He is the author of The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and their Readers.

“She’s Telling the Truth: What We Might Learn from Miss Ferenczi and Other Teachers in Stories,” Jo Anne Katzmarek

The conversation in this session will begin with a look at teachers as they are portrayed in Charles Baxter’s short story “Gryphon.” In that story, Miss Ferenczi, an unusual substitute teacher stirs some fourth graders to think in new and exciting ways and other fourth graders to hang on fervently to the facts they learned from their “regular” teacher.

Using Miss Ferenczi as a starting point, we will explore the portrayal of teachers in stories and poems as a means to clarify professional dispositions for teacher education. Some points we may ponder: To what extent is our own identity as teacher shaped by the image of teachers we have read in stories and poems? What are some powerful metaphors for teachers and teaching suggested by these literary creations? How do these literary creations measure up the teacher dispositions being advocated by the teacher education professional community and especially by the teacher education accreditation policies? On the other hand, what might the role be for stories about teachers in the preparation of teachers?

“The Heart and Soul of Curriculum: Emotional Challenges in the Student-Centered Classroom,” Kristin Prevallet

Several years ago, I had a class that fundamentally shattered me emotionally, and since then I have changed my persona and my pedagogy to adjust to emotional situations in my classrooms. I am no longer the same teacher that I was five years ago—of course this has to do with growing wiser. But it also has to do with adjusting my pedagogy and overall approach to shield myself from the emotional trauma of that one class—a class that probably was an anomaly, but one that bruised me nevertheless. This interactive workshop will engage questions of authority and boundaries that we must often deal with in our classes.

“‘Oh please, not him!’ and Other Reflections on Disliking, and Maybe Liking, Students,” E.A. Miller Mlcak

Evening Session
Featuring readings—Kristin Prevallet, Laurence Musgrove and followed by an open mic.

"Teaching After Hurricane Katrina," Alicia Blair "The ‘Not-Trying’ of Writing," Rachel Forrester

Rachel will engage participants in a reflective exercise, and share her thoughts about how a very spiritual “not trying,” or non-work, is what’s at the heart of the mysterious event when composition occurs.

Alicia will share her practical experiences during the Post-Katrina period with her sixth grade students. She will explain how allowing emotions into the classroom, and following specific strategies and activities, made her year productive and successful.

“Picturing Reading Relationships,” Laurence Musgrove

In this 75-minute interactive workshop, participants will graphically explore their attitudes toward and relationships with reading and teaching. I will ask teachers to represent their reading and teaching visually in three ways, first a drawing of what happens when they read, second a drawing of how they would depict reading for their students, and third a drawing of what happens when they teach reading. We will then review these drawings as a way to examine their emotional or attitudinal dimensions, and consider methods for promoting other kinds of relationships with reading and teaching. I will also share examples of students’ drawings from my research that reveal a range of reading emotions.

Click here for a handout from this session.

"Emotions at the Intersection of Realism and Idealism: When Student Emails Treat Teachers Like Flight Attendants," Richard Williams

My students’ emails sometimes make me angry. In this presentation I will I explore the social roots of my emotions through Arlie Hochschild’s notion of “the commercialization of human feelings”. Her idea ultimately allows me to understand the conflicting assumptions that students and teachers have about education—students tend to be realists, while teachers tend to be idealists. Exploring those assumptions, I conclude that the task faced by teachers today is more complex than that of merely helping students; we must also help ourselves. In discussing this, I will explore the interplay between realism and idealism and engage participants in a writing exercise about it.


“Beyond Rhetorical Conventions: Composing as Emotional Process in WAC/WID,” Wendy Ryden. Respondent, Beverly Wall