Our time in the classroom can be transformative in profound ways. For some, this issue becomes more than dealing with content and students in an ethical way. It expands into a broader realm, that of social justice, as described by Sonia Nieto:
Teachers enter the profession for any number of reasons, but neither fame nor money nor the promise of lavish working conditions is at the top of that list. Instead . . . for many of them, social justice figures prominently among the motivating factors underlying their choice to teach. The urge to live a life of service that entails a commitment to the ideals of democracy, fair play, and equality is strong among many of those who begin teaching. (2003, 91)
Nieto continues, though, to remind us that “teachers are not miracle workers. Nor are they social workers or missionaries.” Instead, “teachers need to understand their roles as involving more than simply attending to the minds of students; it also entails nurturing their hearts and souls . . . to do this without taking on the world of injustice is tricky business . . . an equilibrium that is difficult at best” (105).
It’s not often your favorite author asks you to co-write their next book, but that’s exactly what happened to Ken Lindblom when he met Leila Christenbury at a NCTE lunch a couple of years ago. Ken was telling Leila how influential her book, Making the Journey, had been to him as he started his teaching career and then to his education students. Leila suggested that with the right partner a new edition might be possible and from there, the duo teamed up. Listen as Leila and Ken offer up timeless advice, humorous anecdotes, and stories of successes and failures in the classroom that they have infused into the 4th edition of Making the Journey. They instill confidence in soon-to-be English teachers, and that’s where we started our conversation.
Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as turning points in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Ken Lindblom, Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the School of Professional Development at Stony Brook University (SUNY), and former high school English teacher. Ken has also served as the editor of English Journal and is on the Executive Board of the Conference on English Education (NCTE). Ken is a co-author of the Heinemann book Making the Journey, fourth edition, which published in the fall of 2016.
Every so often we like to ask our authors about the books that most affected their teaching, the books that served as turning points in their practice or opened their eyes to a new way of approaching their work, thinking about education, or seeing children. In this installment, we bring you the professional book top five of Leila Christenbury, a 40-year veteran teacher both in secondary English and higher education, former editor of English Journal and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English, and currently Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her most recent book, the fourth edition of Making the Journeywas published by Heinemann inSeptember 2016.
In our society we thrive on the reimagined, the reconceived, the improved, the better than ever. The ancient proverb may insist that there is nothing new under the sun, but that has never seemed to convince most of us Americans. If it’s new, most of us are in—or are at least pretty interested.
Leila Christenbury and I recently published the fourth edition of her well-known guide for the field’s newest teachers of English. Leila wrote the first three editions on her own. So how did I get so lucky to be Leila’s co-author for this edition?