Great teachers work best when they work together. TNTeacherTalk is a place for Tennessee teachers to connect, share our stories, and learn from one another. Join us as we discuss the issues affecting Tennessee students, teachers, and communities.

In the Classroom Policy
Mississippi Students’ Activism is Historically Significant
March 8, 2018
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Mississippi Students’ Activism is Historically Significant

Stacy Jones
@stacyjonestned

Terry, Mississippi, located in Hinds County, about 15 miles southwest of Jackson, had a population of just over 1,000 people—60 percent African American—at the time of the 2010 census. It is home to two high schools, including Terry High School. One of its most famous residents was Tommy Johnson, the blues man about whom the original legend of soul-selling at a crossroads in exchange for masterful guitar playing originated—before it was later attributed to musician Robert Johnson.
In the Classroom Leadership
It Is Imperative for My Students to Be Global Citizens
February 15, 2018
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It Is Imperative for My Students to Be Global Citizens

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize is a $1 million award presented annually to an individual that has made a major contribution to education. This prize vets and rewards teachers around the world, with the foundational belief that educators should be recognized, highlighted, and celebrated for the work that they do for the profession.
In the Classroom
The Innovation Academy
February 11, 2018
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The Innovation Academy

Maureen Henderson
@MaureenHender18

The Innovation Academy is a magnet program located at Springfield Middle School in Robertson County, Tennessee. The program currently serves two hundred sixty scholars in sixth through eighth grade. Scholars have a team of two teachers, one teacher instructs STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and the other instructs REACH (Reading/English to Analyze Culture and History).
In the Classroom Policy
Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning
February 7, 2018
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Full-Immersion Work-Based Learning

Heidi King
@heidikingking

Patrick’s alarm goes off at 5:30 am.  He rolls out of bed and gets dressed.  He has to clock in at Gestamp by 7am, which he’s learned means arriving no later than 6:45.  Patrick is saving for a car, but for now he pays Uber $20 a day to get to and from work.  This is not the easiest life for an 18 year old high school senior to face, but this experience has changed the course of Patrick’s life for the better.  
In the Classroom
Weird but Not Too Weird
February 5, 2018
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Weird but Not Too Weird

Leticia Skae
@LSkae

Is teaching a science? An art? Or a craft? Can it be a little bit of all of those things? My husband is an executive principal, and we often brainstorm ways to solve educational problems regularly. It is quite possibly our favorite pastime. But when discussed what makes a great teacher, he explained his hiring process to me. When he interviews a teacher he is looking for a teacher that is “weird but not too weird.” (A philosophy that I’m sure he uses even in love).
In the Classroom
4 Steps to Becoming a Culturally Responsive Teacher
January 28, 2018
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4 Steps to Becoming a Culturally Responsive Teacher

Leticia Skae
@LSkae

In my seventh year teaching English/language arts, I moved to a new school. As part of the orientation, one of the veteran English teachers kindly provided me the essential reading list for 10th grade students. When I reviewed the list, something just didn’t sit well. The entire list was filled with books either written by men or featuring white, male protagonists. The only exception was the tragic, unlikeable protagonist in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, whose toxic masculine ideals lead to his demise.
Leadership Professional Learning
My Leadership Story
January 28, 2018
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My Leadership Story

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

I am Dr. Melissa Collins, and I am a nationally known teacher leader. I have received National Board Certification, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Horace Mann Teacher Excellence Award, West Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and was recognized as a 2018 Global Teacher Prize Finalist to name a few. I have conducted leadership and instructional workshops to inspire teacher leaders. These accomplishments have helped me to strive as a leader in and outside the classroom.  Even though I am a successful educator, I overcame many obstacles to get where I am today.
Leadership
The Importance of School Leadership
January 21, 2018
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The Importance of School Leadership

Kenneth Chadwell
@kchadwell2014 

It has always been my belief that nothing can have a larger impact on a student's learning than a teacher. It seems that sometimes we forget about the impact of school leadership on the teacher. During most of my seventeen-year teaching career, I was under the belief that a good teacher can overcome a bad school administrator. That is no longer my belief. I think that the choice of who will lead a school has become the number one factor of how successful a school will be.
In the Classroom Professional Learning
What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program
January 17, 2018
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What I Didn’t Learn in My Teacher Preparation Program

Rachel Turner
@ChattanoogaChat

Now in my eighth year as a teacher, I often chuckle when I reflect on how far I have come in my teaching career.  Just a few short years ago, I was a clueless student teacher eager to change the life of every student I met. I did not know much, but I knew that I did not want to be like the Economics teacher (Ben Stein) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or the teacher in Peanuts. I envisioned being a mix between John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society and Louanne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Dangerous Minds. Instead, I entered the classroom more like a cross between John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Kindergarten Cop and Sherman Clump (Eddie Murphy) in The Nutty Professor.  Luckily, I have thick skin and stuck with the most rewarding career one can have.  However, I often think back and wonder why so many aspects of a teacher’s career go unmentioned in our preparation programs.
In the Classroom Leadership
For Such a Time as This
January 15, 2018
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For Such a Time as This

Mark Wittman
@wittmanmarks

As I have reflected over the past 23 years of my teaching career, the scripture “for such a time as this” seemed to be the theme of my involvement with education. It was “for such a time as this” that I made the move from western Kansas and settled in the inner city of Memphis, TN. I settled in Memphis with 9 years of teaching experience and a heart to serve the community. My willingness, skills, and passion allowed me to be instrumental in opening a Faith-Based school where I served as a kindergarten teacher. Helping open this school was just the first stepping-stone of my future in Memphis. It was the first of the many experiences that were revealing to me that I was in Memphis “for such a time as this.”