About

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
– John Dewey

If you’re reading this page, it’s likely that you consider yourself a connected educator. You know the type: she participates in Twitter chats where she feels like part of the community. She gets excited to go to conferences to learn more about education. She reads professional books, posts about them on social media, and is proud to try the new ideas in the classroom. She is not afraid to fail epicly in front of her class, because she is open about being a life long learner who makes mistakes in the name of education.

I say she, because it’s statistically more likely that you’re a she. No offense, fellow guys! Anyway…

My name is Gerard Dawson (lots of friends and family call me Jerry). I’m in my sixth year of teaching, currently spending my days with high school students in English and Journalism classes.  At home, I’m the luckiest guy on Earth, living in New Jersey with my wife and son, Gerard.

My wife, Jen, and the two Gerards (both short on hair at the time).

My wife, Jen, with her two Gerards (both short on hair at the time).

The wisdom of master teachers has inspired me from day one. I’ve crafted an ever-evolving teaching philosophy based on the educators who’ve taught me, both in the classroom and in books. I’m the author of Hacking Literacy: 5 Ways to Turn Any Classroom into a Culture of Readers, as well as a contributor to The Best Lesson Series: Literature.  I’ve written for Edutopia, and my students’ work has appeared on The New York Times Learning Network.

The problem I find with teaching is that it can be a little lonely in this profession, when many are content to do the job just well enough to get by. It’s a challenge to cut through all of the politics and keep focusing on the most important part of the job: the students. And, it can be hard to feel like part of a community as a teacher who wants to get better, when you can spend most of your work days with no other adults around.

But this job is awesome when we focus on all the ways we have left to improve. As the tagline of this site says, Teaching is awesome when you never stop learning.

When you come here you’ll find the actual results of things that worked and didn’t, and you’ll get ideas that you can apply in your own class, hopefully tomorrow. The best way to keep up is by subscribing. You can do that by entering your email below, and, as a thank you, I’ll send you Simplify Feedback, my ebook for any teacher who wants to respond to student work more effectively and efficiently.  No spam, promise.

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PS…here are three of my most popular posts:

For the education rebel: Everything I learned while teaching English without grades

For the edtech nerd: Scaffold the writing process with the digital writer’s notebook

For the overwhelmed writing teacher: How to give students better feedback without working nights and weekends