English 2790, Spring 2022

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, learning about the teaching of writing, teaching each other, developing thematic literature curriculum, 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 what is happening in their local communities and around the world.  Future teachers in this class are expected to read from a variety of news sources and are invited to bring issues to our class for discussion. WMU provides a free NYT subscription. The Guardian is also a good news source, and can also be accessed for free.

You are expected to attend at least one day of an English teacher conference, ideally face-to-face, but given the pandemic, perhaps online. This semester the Michigan Reading Association (MRA) Conference March 11-14 in Lansing, Student 1 day $139, student 2-3 days $159 - register by Jan 16! Volunteer and get a free hotel room.  

You are encouraged to attend the Sustaining Our Heartwork, MCTE sponsorsed 1 hour session at 7:00, Jan 12.   

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


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. 

Given the increased use of online tools during the pandemic, NCTE has developed a wide range of resources to support both fully online learning and the integration of online resources and tools into face-to-face teaching.  

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. SECOND EDITION. (Rethinking Schools, 2017)

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


Attend an English Teacher Conference

Literacy Autobiography (15%) Due: 1/24

Teaching Teachers (10%) Due: 2/7-2/21

Professional Issue Presentation (10%) Due: 3/2

Observation / Interview (20%) Due: 3/23

Thematic Curriculum Concept (15%) Due: 4/6

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

Final Exam: Reflections on Teaching (10%) Due: 4/25

Electronic Syllabus

Jan 10: Introductions

Jan 12: 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. From your phone text "27d948f" to this number "81010".

3. Register for and put on your calendar attending at least one day of the Spring English teacher conferences on your calendar: Michigan Reading Association (MRA) Conference March 11-14 Lansing(Student 1 day $139, student 2-3 days $159 - register by Mar 4! Volunteer and get a free hotel room!

4. Bring 5 pages rough draft of your literacy autobiography to class.

Jan 17:  Martin Luther King Day

Attend an MLK event such as the MLK Day Teach-In in the Bernhard Center, Room 210, 11 am to 3 pm!

Jan 19: Literacy Autobiography Continued

1. Bring at least 12 pages of rough drafts -- and at least 3 different genre "experiments" -- from your literacy autobiography to class.

Jan 24: Plan Teaching Reading, Writing, & Rising Up

1. Literacy Autobiography DUE

Jan 26: English Teacher Narrative: Clearing the Way

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

Jan 31: English Teacher Narrative: Clearing the Way

1. Read: Chapters 5-7 of Clearing the Way 

Feb 2: English Teacher Narrative: Clearing the Way

1. Finish: Clearing the Way 

Feb 7: Teaching Teachers: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Intro & Chap 1

Feb 9: Teaching Teachers: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Chap 2

Feb 14: Teaching Teachers: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Chap 3

Feb 16: Teaching Teachers: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Chap 4

Feb 21: Teaching Teachers: Reading, Writing, and Rising Up: Chap 5

Feb 23: Prepare Professional Issue Presentations

Feb 28: English Teacher Observation & Interview Planning

Mar 2: Professional Issue Presentations  

Due: Professional Issue Presentation

Mar 7-11 Spring Break


Mar 14: 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, (there may be a page limit per browser use, to restart you can change browser or delete browser history. Trouble with E-book? Call Cherise at 269-387-5882 during business hours or contact the library through the "Ask Us" button on the library home page.)

Mar 16: 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)

Mar 21: 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)

Mar 23: Thematic Approaches 

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

Due: Teacher Observation / Interview

Mar 28: Thematic Approaches Continued

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

2. Read: Allen's recent article, "Opening the Conversation about Climate Refugees"

Mar 30: Class Activites and Lesson Planning

1. Read about class activities: Interactive Classroom Activities, Document Activity Tools, Mozilla On-Line Activities, Boal Forum Theater & Invisible Theater, search by keyword for lesson ideas at Read, Write, Think (resource for English teachers created by NCTE and ILA).

2. Study Allen's Lesson Plan Format and the links from that page.

Apr 4: Teacher Panel

Apr 6: Senior Panel

Apr 11: Advisor Panel

1. Due: Thematic Curriculum Concept
2. Learn about requirements and advising in the College of Education.
3. Read about required state certification tests including the Professional Readiness Exam (PRE) and the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC Subject Area).
4. Learn about advising and course requirements for the English Major and Minor in Secondary Education.

Apr 13: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio

Apr 8: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio Continued

Apr 18: Teaching Website / Online Portfolio Continued

Apr 20: Presentation of Teaching Website / Online Portfolios

Due: Teaching Website

Apr 25-28: Finals Week

Apr 25 10:15-12:15 Final Exam Hour: Discussion of Course and Reflections

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