English 2790, Fall 2017

Introduction to English Education

This course offers an introduction to the responsibilities, aspirations, and professional knowledge of secondary English language arts teachers.

The course will include students: reflecting on their own experiences learning to read and write, examing the representation of English teachers in popular culture, studying and presenting about current professional issues in teaching English, observing and interviewing secondary English teachers, learning about the program and requirements for teacher certification, becoming familiar with new technologies and developing their own teacher website and online portfolio, and reflecting on the decision to pursue a career as an English teacher.  (See Course Goals.)

Professional Involvement

Future English teachers should join NCTE, MCTE, and/or MRA and read regularly the English Journal or Voices from the Middle.  The English Companion Ning is a remarkable resource with over 10,000 members -- join and draw on this resource throughout the semester. WMU has an NCTE Student affiliate; become an active member.

Teachers need to be informed about the world.  Students are expected to read regularly the New York Times and other sources. WMU provides a free NYT subscription.

You are expected to attend the Fall Michigan Council of the Teachers of English (MCTE) Conference all day on Friday, October 20 ($60 for students). You are invited to attend the National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference in St Louis, Nov 16-19 ($110 for students). If finances present a challenge, seek support and be creative, for example, the gofundme approach.

I recommend gay and straight future teachers join GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

I have worked with former secondary English students to create an extensive wiki about seeking a job teaching secondary English and I have created a webpage of information for aspiring teachers. Official information about the Michigan Teacher Certification test is available on the MTTC website -- and here are my suggestions to prepare for and think about the MTTC test.


The course will be taught in the WMU English Department English Education Labs fostering teacher designed instruction, critical thinking about technology and curriculum, teacher and student publication, free, open-source, or low cost resources, and strategies for bringing the resources and communicative possibilities of the Internet to all students.

Course Success

Since the class is discussion-based, attendance and preparation are essential to your own learning and to the learning of your classmates. Missing any classes will affect your learning. Missing 3 classes or more may lower your grade and missing 5 classes may lead to failing. Study my philosophy regarding discussion, preparation, participation, attendance, grading, and learning -- and consider your own philosophy!

Your final course grade will be an average of grades for the major assignments, listed and weighted below. At the hour scheduled for the final exam students will turn in a take home exam/essay and evaluate and discuss the course.

This course will follow WMU policies regarding academic honesty.

WMU has many resources to foster student health and well being. If at any point in the semester if you feel stress, English 2790 does offer free on-line therapy from Eliza!

My office is 723 Sprau Tower, 387-2605. Office hours are after class and by appointment. You can always reach me via email.



Romano, Tom. Clearing the Way: Working With Teenage Writers. (Heinemann, 1987)

Christensen, Linda. Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word. (Rethinking Schools, 2000)

Rozema, Robert & Ellis, Lindsay. Early Career English Teachers in Action: Learning from Experience, Developing Expertise. (Routledge, 2014) (Available for free in electronic form through the WMU library.)

Major Assignments


Literacy Autobiography (20%) Due: 9/18

Film Analysis (10%) Due: 9/25

Professional Issue Presentation (10%) Due: 10/16

Thematic Teaching Concept (10%) Due: 11/8

Observation / Interview (20%) Due: 11/20

Teaching Website / Online Portfolio (20%) Due: 12/4

Final Exam: Reflections on Teaching (10%) Due: 12/14

Electronic Syllabus

Sep 6: Introductions

Sep 11: Literacy Autobiography

1. Read carefully through the entire on-line syllabus. Bring any questions about the syllabus and assignments to class.

2. Join our class phone message system, Remind. If you have a smartphone go to this page in your web browser and follow instructions: rmd.at/ceg6c3. If you don't have a smart phone text "@ceg6c3" to this number "81010". If you don't have a cell phone go to rmd.at/ceg6c3 and sign up for email notification.

3. Register for and put on your calendar the Michigan Council of the Teachers of English Fall Conference, Friday Oct. 20 and, if you can, the NCTE Conference Nov. 16-19.

4. Bring 10 pages rough draft of your literacy autobiography to class.

Sep 13: Literacy Autobiography Continued

Sep 18: English Teachers in Popular Culture

1. Literacy Autobiography DUE

Sep 20: English Teachers in Popular Culture Continued

1. View one or more of: Blackboard Jungle (1955), To Sir with Love (1967), Up the Down Stair Case (1967), Conrack (1974), Dead Poets Society (1989), Dangerous Minds (1995), Finding Forrester (2000), The Hobard Shakespeareans (2004), Ron Clark Story (2006), The Great Debaters (2007), Freedom Writers (2007), Bad Teacher (2011), The English Teacher (2013), or...

Sep 25: English Teacher Narratives: Clearing the Way

1. Read: Chapters 1-3 of Clearing the Way

2. Due: Film Analysis

Sep 27: English Teacher Narratives: Clearing the Way

1. Read: Chapters 4-7 of Clearing the Way 

Oct 2: English Teacher Narratives: Clearing the Way

1. Finish: Clearing the Way 

Oct 4: English Teacher Narrative: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

1. Read: Introduction and Chapter 1 of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

2. Read: Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools

3. Read: ELL Students 

Oct 9: English Teacher Narrative: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

1. Read: Chapters 2-5 of Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

2. View: Wealth Inequality in America

3. Read: Growing Income Inequality Threatens American Education

Oct 11: English Teacher Narrative: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

1. Read: Finish Reading, Writing, and Rising Up

2. Read: Affluent Increase Spending on Kids

Oct 16: Professional Issue Presentations

Due: Professional Issue Presentation

Oct 18: Professional Issues Presentations Continued

Oct 20: Friday MCTE Fall Conference, Lansing

Oct 23: English Teacher Observation / Interview Planning & Teaching Today

1. Read: Early Career English Teachers in Action (2015), new teacher stories from Chapters 2-3:
Lessons from the Scrap Yard (22-28)
The Rules (29-35)
Lessons from the Slum (36-43)
Life Skills (44-53)
Loving and Leaving (61-73)

Available via WMU online library reserves.  (Search by instructor. Add Course.  Password: 2790.  Course Home. View Item. Go to the Table of Contents. Open Chapter, then individual stories. View on line, OR  download pages, use "continue as guest" (there may be a page limit per browser use, to restart you can change browser or delete browser history. Trouble with E-book? Call Amy at 269-387-5175 during business hours or contact the library through the "Ask Us" button on the library home page.)

Oct 25: Teaching Today Continued

1. Read: Early Career English Teachers in Action, new teacher stories from Chapters 4-5:
Why the Hell Would You Teach There? (74-85) Kibera Sings (93-101) Going Gradeless (102-13) The Meaning of Success (114-117)
An Absorbing Fear, Rejecting Fear (125-30)
Integrity (131-35)

Oct 30: Teaching Today Continued

1. Read: Early Career English Teachers in Action, new teacher stories from Chapters 5-6:
Breaking My Rule (136-45)
First Love (146-51)
The Exceptions (164-68)
Finding Your Focus (169-76)
Innocence and Experience (177-80)
The Heart of Teaching (181-84)

Nov 1: Thematic Approaches 

1. Reading: From Literature and Lives (Chap 1 & Chap 2) & "Embedded: Teaching the Iraq War"

Nov 6: Thematic Approaches Continued

1. Reading: From Teaching Climate Change (Chap 1 & Chap 2)

Nov 8: Teacher Panel

1. Due: Thematic Teaching Concept

Nov 13: Senior Panel

Nov 15: Advisor Panel

1. Learn about requirements and advising in the College of Education.
2. Read about required state certification tests including the Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) and the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC Subject Area) in the English (BA) (002) Subject Area.
3. Learn about advising and course requirements for the English Major and Minor in Secondary Education.
4. Additional resources for test preparation and for preparing to go on the job market, EnglishJob.wikispaces.com.

Nov 16-19 NCTE Conference, St Louis

Nov 20: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio

Due: Teacher Observation / Interview
Nov 22-25 Thanksgiving Break

Nov 27: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio Continued

Nov 29: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio Continued

Dec 4: Presentation of Teaching Website / Online Portfolios

Due: Teaching Website

Dec 6: Reflections on English Teaching Discussion

Due: 3 Pages Rough Draft: Final Exam: Reflections on Teaching English

Dec 11-14: Finals Week

Dec 14 Thursday, 2:45-4:45: Final Exam: Discussion of Course and Reflections

Due: Take Home Final Exam: My Current Reflections on Teaching English