National Writing Project

Resource Topics

Professional Development - New Teachers

Additional Resources

Gotchas and Gorillas: New-Teacher Mentoring at the Dinner Table

March 2012
Kevin Thienes
Kevin Thienes, from the Boise State Writing Project, describes a simple and effective new-teacher mentoring program. More ›

NWP Radio—The Pressures of Teaching: How Teachers Cope With Classroom Stress

January 2011
Visit with Maureen Picard Robins and several teacher-authors of a new essay collection titled The Pressures of Teaching: How Teachers Cope With Classroom Stress. Hear about the genesis of this collection and listen to the stories of three chapter authors: Bryan Ripley Crandall, Fred Haas, and Bruce Green. More ›

New Teachers in Urban Contexts: Creating Bridges with Teach For America Teachers

August 2010
Dina Portnoy, Tanya Maloney
Teacher-consultants from the Philadelphia Writing Project use a one-week summer bridge course to address the complex needs, challenges, and opportunities facing new urban teachers in the Teach For America program. More ›

Bibliography Helps Sites Strengthen Work with New Teachers

June 2009
To help sites implement successful new-teacher programs, the New-Teacher Initiative developed a bibliography addressing the teaching of writing, culture and its implications for teaching and learning, teacher inquiry, and professional development through participation in a professional community. More ›

NTI Models Help University of Mississippi Writing Project Mentor New Teachers

June 2009
Drawing on the models developed by sites participating in the New-Teacher Initiative, the University of Mississippi Writing Project has implemented successful programs for new teachers in the state. More ›

Students Write Tabloid Tabulations in a Math Gossip Magazine

November 2008
Tom Murray, Joe Bellacero
Eighth grade math teacher Tom Murray and on-site teacher-consultant Joe Bellacero recount their innovative collaboration: they have Murray's students write gossip tabloid articles about math topics, which heightens the students' engagement, increases their understanding of math, and develops their writing skills. More ›

Sustaining Work with New Teachers at Four Sites

March 2008
Four local sites give glimpses of how they have integrated their programs for new teachers—which were originally supported by New-Teacher Initiative grants—into their ongoing work. More ›

Making a Successful Punctuation Lesson

January 2007
Mary K. Tedrow
Tedrow describes the interweaving of elements that went into creating one effective lesson: appropriate material, pedagogical knowledge, collegial exchange, and her students' readiness. More ›


The Voice, 2006
Terie Cota
Fifth grade teacher Terie Cota describes a writing lesson she spontaneously created on a rainy day, which engaged her students' creativity and led to an experience of success for one struggling student in particular. More ›

A Little Praise, a Very Long Way

The Voice, 2005
Heather Hollands
Heather Hollands tells the story of her tenth grade student Joey, who hated to write. Her encouragement, along with an assignment that captured his imagination, transformed him into a budding young writer. More ›

Teachers Enter the “Writing Project Way”

The Voice, 2005
Linette Moorman
At 18 NWP sites, the New Teacher Initiative (NTI) provides a supportive community where novice teachers have found "solace and refuge, as well as identity and challenge as professionals." More ›

What Real Professionalism Requires

The Quarterly, 2005
Pam Cheng
A beginning second grade teacher describes how she measured her professionalism by rigorous yardsticks: standards, accountability, high expectations. Encountering blank stares, resistance, and paper balls thrown at her, she had to change her approach. More ›

Writing to Learn for Preservice Teachers

The Quarterly, 2005
Samuel Totten
Why do few teachers incorporate writing-to-learn strategies into their classrooms? The answer, according to the author, is not very complicated: they have never been taught these strategies. More ›

Book Review: In the First Few Years: Reflections of a Beginning Teacher, by Tina Humphrey

The Quarterly, 2004
Liz Stephens
Stephens reviews In the First Few Years: Reflections of a Beginning Teacher, which explores the new teacher's experience. More ›

Book Review: What to Expect When You're Expected to Teach, ed. by Bramblett and Knoblauch

The Quarterly, 2004
Tina Humphrey
Tina Humphrey reviews What to Expect When You're Expected to Teach: The Anxious Craft of Teaching Composition, which examines the issues teachers face in the composition classroom. More ›

Caring Comes First: A Personal Narrative

The Quarterly, 2004
Kathy Moran
In this time of intense pressure on teachers to accept standardization and hold students to strict measures, Kathy Moran argues that establishing personal connections is as important as following curriculum. More ›

Doing Literacy

The Voice, 2004
Joanne Toft
A fifth/sixth grade teacher is challenged to bring her literacy competencies to a visible level in order to share them with observing practicum students. More ›

The Myth of “Next Year's Class”

The Quarterly, 2004
Lori Pohlman
Pohlman describes two classes, one a sparkling success and the other an intense challenge. She concludes that one cannot generalize about "next year's class" but must see and teach each student as an individual. More ›

Reflections of a Distracted Teacher

The Quarterly, 2003
Rebecca Dierking
The author details her reawakening to what is most important to teaching: her humanity; her capacity to care about each student, one at a time. More ›

It Can't Be Taught, But It Can Be Lost

The Voice, Fall 2003
Terry Mobley
A long-time teacher rediscovers the joy of teaching as he experiences the NWP Annual Meeting through the eyes of an eager, young, and focused new teacher. More ›

Projectors, Bell Curves, and Midday Showers

The Quarterly, Fall 2002
Jane Hancock
A poem by Jane Hancock. More ›

Thursday Mornings

The Quarterly, Fall 2002
Tina Humphrey
Humphrey advises new teachers, "Don't lose yourself. Every once in a while, remember who you are—the you who deserves to be pampered and nourished." More ›

Walking the Walk with Baby Steps

The Voice, March-April 2002
Kris Parsons
After feeling like many of her classroom innovations were disasters, Parsons realizes that by starting small, and building on insights about what is working and why, she can become the teacher she wants to be. More ›

An Intern's Summer Institute Experience

The Voice, May-June 2002
Beth Hammett
A recent graduate with no teaching experience, Beth Hammett shares what she learned—and contributed—at the Oklahoma Writing Project summer institute in the site's first internship position. More ›

Conformity Meets Creativity

The Voice, May-June 2002
Kathy Woods
Junior high students can be tough to teach, but Kathy Woods shows how writing can break down their defensiveness and reveal a different side. More ›

Our Writing Lives: Abu's Lesson

The Voice, May-June 2002
Barbara Bass
A childhood reflection from Barbara Bass on the loss of creativity and confidence she experienced in school, and how a storefront public library taught her a love of learning. More ›

Book Review: The Energy to Teach by Donald H. Graves

The Quarterly, Winter 2002
Monie Hayes
Hayes observes that Graves' text finds a balance between documenting energy-sapping classroom circumstances and sharing examples of rewards that energize teachers, offering a practical framework for making our teaching days rich and rewarding rather than frustrating and wearying. More ›

An Opportunity on Elm Street

Turning Points in Teaching: Narrative Reflection on Professional Practice, 2001
Brett Stonebrick
Brett Stonebrick, a teacher-consultant with the Oregon Writing Project at the University of Willamette, describes a breakthrough that occurred in his thinking about student-generated topics when he opened up to the desire of an uncooperative and underperforming first-grader to discuss and write about a slasher movie. More ›

Dissecting the Frog

Turning Points in Teaching: Narrative Reflection on Professional Practice, 2001
Curt Yehnert
In telling the story of a Navaho student who, in her desire to be a nurse, breaks with Navaho taboo and dissects a frog, Yehnert understands that he, too, must be willing to put his teaching identity on the line. Yehnert is with the Oregon Writing Project at Willamette University. More ›

Redefining Student Success

Turning Points in Teaching: Narrative Reflection on Professional Practice, 2001
Karen Deshon Hamlin
By examining the way two "abused, disengaged and disillusioned" seventh graders relate to and perform on a spelling test, Hamlin finds divergent ways for both students to become increasingly connected to their learning. Hamlin is co-director of the Oregon Writing Project at Willamette University. More ›

Saving a Seat for Joseph

The Quarterly, Winter 2001
Maria Russel
Russell reflects on how one student, Joseph, led her to peel away the protective layers that she had justified as necessary for her classroom survival. She now recognizes how they made her "inflexible . . . not a good thing." More ›

Unloading the Excess Baggage

The Quarterly, Winter 2001
Beth Halbert
Halbert wrestles with questions of how she should react to a student memoir that relies on profanity and includes authentic descriptions of violence. More ›

Book Review: The Courage to Teach, by Parker Palmer

The Quarterly, Fall 1999
Andy Jackl, Nan Massengil, Sherri Merritt, Ruie Pritchard
The authors each describe ways that Palmer's text, with its emphasis on "connectedness," has led them to explore the "inner landscapes" of their teaching lives. More ›

The Boys on the Bus:A Teacher's Mindful Commute

The Voice, Winter/Spring 1998
Jeff Zorn
More ›

Teaching Can Be a Novel Experience

The Quarterly, Winter 1996
Bob Tierney
Tierney draws useful parallels between the skills of a successful teacher and those of a successful writer, emphasizing such principles as "know your audience," "build trust," and "show don't tell." More ›

Michael, the Student Who Inspired Me to Quit Teaching

The Quarterly, Summer 1995
Lora Lee Duncan
Duncan's interactions with Michael, a recovering drug addict who learns to write by pouring out his personal story, show her that students may learn more efficiently if they are given control over their own writing. More ›

The Square Peg

The Quarterly, Summer 1995
Jane Juska
Juska offers her plea for teacher-scholars who spend their classroom life experiencing the wonder of their field of study and trying to transmit that experience to their students—even though these teachers may not be "team players." More ›

Seeing Violence in my Teaching

The Quarterly, Fall 1994
Bob Ingalls
Ingalls applies Krishnamurti's idea of "nonviolent" teaching to his classes, showing students how to connect their experience to what he teaches. He introduces Joseph Campbell's work, alienates some parents, and keeps learning from his experiences. More ›

What Teachers Need to Know

The Quarterly, May 1980
Leslie Whipp
Whipp reflects on teacher knowledge, stating that the NWP must make central "the function of allowing young people to extend their repertoires of language." More ›

New-Teacher Initiative Annotated Bibliography

June 2009
This annotated bibliography is a partial listing of the readings that have been most significant in the work of the New-Teacher Initiative. They address four areas: 1) the teaching of writing, 2) understanding culture and its implications for teaching and learning, 3) strengthening inquiry as a mode of learning, and 4) rethinking professional development for new teachers through participation in a professional community. More ›

New Teachers Come Together Through Writing

July 2007
The National Writing Project's New-Teacher Initiative supported eighteen sites across the country as they investigated how to support new teachers. As one might expect, writing figured prominently in programs across all eighteen sites. More ›

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