This page shows a lot of what’s important to me.

  • My students and their writing lives… In the photo above, my poetry class takes a field trip to an art museum to write ekphrastic poems… a reward for participating in our regional Poetry Out Loud contest, the recitation competition from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • My family… I’ve been married for 30+ years to my artist-husband (marry an artist!) and have two grown children (plus that cute little dog, Francie, in the picture above).
That’s me on the left, then our Jack Russell named Francie, then my daughter, son, and my husband. We were all feelin’ a little goofy.
  • Staying organized (or trying to)… Even though my desk looks like a mess in the center photo above, I swear it’s not. Everything pretty much has its place. As for lesson planning, I live by Planbook.
I use lots of tools to stay organized. Planbook, a “slothy” standard school year calendar, Post-its, and a good ol’ spiral notebook.
  • Travelling, ESPECIALLY when I visit places that impact my teaching (and what destination doesn’t impact our teaching, right?!) The picture in the lower right of the top gallery shows me in New York City reading a plaque at the site of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Co. factory fire, a topic in my 8th-grade ELA curriculum at my previous school. Below, I’m studying stone walls in Delphi, Greece that feature scriptura continua, text without spacing between the words… how early writings were transcribed.

I started this blog in June 2017.

I wanted to keep track of lessons and activities I’ve done in my ELA classrooms. And I thought keeping track in a blog would make me more accountable and, hopefully, compel me to stick with it.

I guess you could consider this blog my own personal professional development plan.

I also thought a blog would be a good way to remember and reflect on how I taught, for example, The Red Badge of Courage, or any other literature or topic. In fact, here’s a sampling of the books I love to teach with.

But reflecting is one thing.

Writing it down (and then putting it online in front of God and everybody… yikes!) is something else completely. But actually, in short, it’s SO HELPFUL to reflect because it reminds me that teaching is an awesome job.

And based on the comments I receive, this blog is helpful to other ELA teachers who are doing their best to handle the challenges that creep into literally every school day.

Knowing my blog is actually doing some good in the teaching world is another thing that’s important to me.

I still love picture day at school!

I’m a non-traditional teacher.

I began teaching at the age of 45, after completing a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Missouri State University. (I earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1988 at The University of Kansas.)

I enjoyed teaching lively middle school students for eight years and on-the-cusp-of-greatness high school students for three. For fall 2022, I look forward to my next chapter: teaching literature and composition to college freshmen.

My primary interests within the world of English Language Arts instruction are…

  • helping educators at all levels stay passionate and energized about their teaching so they don’t leave our most important profession
  • encouraging CREATIVE WRITING so students feel the power of personal expression
  • providing solid academic writing skills
  • seeing my students become published writers in both online and print media
  • tapping the power of poetry to motivate and engage young writers
  • finding writing contests for middle and high school students
  • incorporating a study of real-world events, issues, and people into Language Arts instruction
Here are some of my previous middle school writers holding up their rejection letters from a contest. They were “okay” with their rejection after I explained that every writer (including yours truly!) experiences rejection. It just shows you’re “in the game” and one step closer to being published! By the way, several of these students had already seen (or eventually did see) their work published by Creative Communication/Poetic Power and one student had already placed third in a local essay contest.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out through commenting or by using the Contact menu at the top of my homepage. I am always eager to hear from you!

Marilyn Yung | ELA Brave and True

Note: School photos used with district permission.

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