If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Friday, July 5, 2019

Appreciating Teachers by Warren Bull

Appreciating Teachers by Warren Bull

Image by Monika Kozub on Upsplash

According to Education Week, 10% of teachers do not complete their first year of teaching. I know of experienced teachers who have been lured to other countries by bigger salaries, housing assistance, and greater community respect. But there are bright spots too. The Learning Policy Institute reports that teacher effectiveness takes three to five years to develop and continues to improve after that.
After an Arizona second grade teacher Elisabeth Milich revealed her $35,621.25 salary on Facebook last year and shared how she struggled to buy classroom supplies for her students from lower-income families, a man she had never met asked if he could help. Ben Adams, who lives in New York, started sending paper, paints, paintbrushes, snacks, and other supplies.
While we may not be able to do all that, Ben Adams suggests that on Amazon (dot) com we can find a classroom that needs help add classroom’s address into our address books and send what supplies we can afford.
Other ideas come from Laura McClure at TED.com, who talked with teachers from around the world:
Tutoring is a good way to volunteer. “I would love to see parents creating initiatives to build an after-school tutorial program that is free for students to get extra help on homework,” says Josefino Rivera Jr., who teaches at an international school in Sofia, Bulgaria.

“If a student is worried about eating, or they are going hungry, then they aren’t going to be focused on learning,” says Craig Zimmer, an educator in Ontario, Canada. That can make kids hard to reach in class — so he suggests donating grocery store gift cards to school counselors to pass them on to families in need. Why school counselors? Because they often know what’s going on at home with students, even if other people don’t.

“The poverty in pockets throughout the United States would shock people (I think),” says Mitzi Stover of California. “Some kids don’t get meals outside of school, so weekends and days off are horrible for them,” says Rita Kitchen, who teaches in Ohio. A grocery bag of fresh, healthy food can help a family get through the weekend and have an immediate positive impact in a student’s life (thus immediately helping a teacher out!).

Basic art, school, and craft supplies are always in demand. “I’ve had families who can meet the basic needs, but extra paper or a much-needed binder are luxuries,” says Karen Goepen-Wee, who teaches in Alberta, Canada. “Also, students always need craft supplies. Imagine not being able to practice how to write or color or create because your family can’t afford the basics like crayons, glue and craft paper.”

Ontario-based educator Craig Zimmer wants students to get real-world context for what they’re learning. So, students in science class might visit science labs, while students in art class might work with artists. “Many teenagers have ideas about their future jobs, but never get the opportunity to see which ones really interest them,” agrees Ela Potocka of Warsaw, Poland. “Students need to visit workplaces in administration, government, and other fields.”


Parents can help by lending their expertise to schools, or by showing kids what they do all day. “We need more ways to get students invested in their future through career education, mentorships, intern opportunities and field trips — especially in STEM fields,” says Jennifer Parr of Wisconsin. “Especially in high school, students can get lost in the shuffle and could really use more strong adult connections,” says Mitzi Stover in California. And it doesn’t have to be in person — you can talk to student groups halfway around the globe via video calls.

“Schools in our district that are in affluent areas have one-to-one technology paid for by the district, while our school, which is in one of the poorest areas, has an average of four or five devices per class,” says educator Jeri Hammond in Florida, who’d love to figure out how to get a bunch of Kindle Fires for her Kindergarteners and first graders.

“So many children need backpacks and school supplies,” says Camille Stawicki, a literacy coach in Michigan. Particularly in cold weather, there is also a huge need for clean, intact clothing for needy kids. Appropriate clothing donations may include things like jeans, coats, hats, gloves, socks, and boots. “I always ask my classroom to check their homes for gently used clothing and shoes for school-aged children,” says teacher Eric Johnson, who teaches middle school in Mishawaka, Indiana.

It’s not enough to develop bright minds. We also need to help students to develop good hearts. Parents and community members can help by offering skills training in meditation, compassion, and teamwork, says Alex Nemo Hanse of Florida.


Let’s find ways to involve parents in their children’s learning, while also teaching parenting skills suggests Sarah Peterson Sheridan of Illinois. “It would be wonderful to fill our schools in the evening with parent/child cooking classes, Zumba, art classes and field trips.”

“We need parents to get involved, ask the difficult questions, and listen to the answers, without aggression or blind belief that ‘their’ child is perfect,” says educator Iain Bogie from the UK. Meanwhile, sitting on a school board can be infinitely helpful. “We need parents or community members running for school board positions and roles of formal leadership,” says Kathleen Harsy of Illinois. “Contested positions would be a great problem to have!”

 “We all want to be regarded as experts and respected for our expertise by parents and community,” says Jenny Lehotsky of Illinois. Adds Jennifer Ward from Michigan, “Teachers need to feel valued by their administration as well. Meaningful and purposeful use of staff development time that incorporates the collective knowledge and experience of teachers is imperative for building a collaborative and creative school culture.”

I wrote this blog on National Teacher Appreciation Day, but any day is a good day to help a teacher.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Every day is teacher appreciation day. In past years I've run a coat bank out of my attic and supplied grocery store gift cards and new bookbags with all required supplies.

E. B. Davis said...

So right, Warren.

KM Rockwood said...

Lots of good ideas. I worked in an alternative school, and saw lots of needs which we tried to meet.

I do worry a bit about assistance distributed via school counselors. Sometimes they do have a good insight into a situation, but sometimes they are entirely clueless, especially with kids who have serious mental issues or who have been in a lot of trouble with the law. In my experience, they fall back on the "deserving poor" theory and like to play Lady Bountiful.

Forget about the kid who didn't get dinner yesterday, spent the night hiding in a closet from a raging father/mother's boyfriend, probably didn't get to the bathroom and so wet his/her clothes, didn't get breakfast this morning and caught the school bus because school, despite all the teasing and disapproval he/she knew would be coming, would provide a little food and maybe a sympathetic staff member who could come up with an opportunity to shower & some clean clothes.

That's often a minimum wage teacher's aid, who knows exactly what it feels like to have to choose between supper and money for the laundromat.