There are two major meta-studies that help to explain why this site exists. The first is the ongoing collection of NAEP Nation’s Report Cards that has found that writing scores have largely stagnated for the last 25 years at the terrifying level of nearly three-quarters of students graduating 8th and 12th grade without being proficient in writing. The second is a 2012 study of 10,000 teachers by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic (2012) that found that teachers work an average of 53 hours per week (these numbers have recently been largely confirmed in other major studies, including this one by Microsoft and McKinsey).
Put these two together and you get an accurate description of my first years in the classroom. During those years I worked too late into too many evenings, put in a nearly constant string of (as a colleague called them) Sunday-no-fun-days grading papers, and got dangerously close to burning out of the profession more times than I can count, and yet despite all of my work, my students continued to struggle to grow as writers.
This site was born in an attempt to explore if there is a better way. Can writing teachers carry their heavy lead of papers without sacrificing nights and weekends? Are there ways to improve student writing faster that don’t put more on a teacher’s plate? Is there a way to find balance and better outcomes simultaneously?
The answer to all of these questions is yes. There are ways to be better writing teachers and better and more present family members, friends, partners, and parents. There are ways to give meaningful feedback and instruction while leaving the work at school. Those topics are what this site explores through my bi-weekly newsletter, my curated list writings from inspirational teachers and thought-leaders pursuing the same questions, and my collection of practical writing resources.
My hope is that these can help you to be a better writing teacher and a better parent, partner, friend, and family member to all those in your life.
More About Me
My work has been published by Principal Leadership, Edutopia, ASCD, National Writing Project, and Norton. I have also written a book for new teachers from Rowman & Littlefield and have a book about providing better, faster feedback to students from Corwin Literacy called Flash Feedback: Responding to Student Writers Better and Faster–Without Burning Out due out in March 2020.