About

Read. Write. Teach.

That’s pretty much all I do, all the time.

I struggled with the order of the words for this blog. I mean, I teach about reading and writing. Sometimes I also teach about teaching reading and writing. Because I teach reading and writing, I constantly read and write. Everytime I read something, I think of how to teach it and I often want to write about it.  And, of course, as a burgeoning academic I write about teaching, reading, and writing as well as teaching reading and writing (Oh, the difference a few commas make!). The three are all so intertwined that after debating the order of the words for about a week with my husband I decided on read. write. teach. Enough over-analyzing already. Let’s do this.

I decided to start this blog because after over a decade in the New York City Public Schools I have decided I know something. I will never make the claim that I am an “expert” because I hate that word and the hierarchy it implies, but I have a large body of knowledge about teaching, reading, and writing, and I didn’t realize that until now. I left the Department of Education this summer to take a job with The City University of New York to teach English to community college students. I think that the distance I made this year between myself and the daily grind of teaching high school English in a Title I inner-city school has allowed me to see that I have skills. Also, I left the current culture of “blame the teacher” and have been treated like someone who has an intelligent perspective for the first time in my profession in AGES. And, with great love and respect to many of my colleagues in CUNY, I have met so many folks in higher education who know very little about the skills and practices of good teaching that it has led me to believe that teachers–those who live that title–have a lot to share on how to make their classrooms–and post-secondary classrooms, too–better. I don’t think I could have started this blog before now, but now is just right.

Also, I have found that teaching creates a frenetic mind. Often I would be planning lessons and stumped on how to teach something, and then someone would make a suggestion and suddenly I would remember, “Oh! I’ve done that! Why didn’t I think to reuse it?” So, in a very selfish way, this is a space for me to catalog what I know for myself because it seems my mind is incapable of having all my cool teaching tricks on call for me at a moment’s notice.

I am starting this blog to share what I know. It’s yours for the taking. Just please don’t steal and make it into a book or something, or I might have to get some of my old gangster students to beat the crap out of you and video it for YouTube…Just kidding…Sort of!

Amid our crazy world that thinks teachers aren’t worth the measly salaries and pensions they pay us, I want to carve out a small place to prove that teachers are intelligent, reflective, capable professionals to prove them (those “experts”) wrong.

Lori Ungemah, Ed.D.

The first photo is my “I”m smart!” photo to impress you.

This photo is my “I’m fun & laid back” photo to impress you.

You can decide which one you prefer.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Lori,
    I just stumbled upon your blog. As a newbie teacher, and still looking for a full-time job (I’m subbing right now), I’ve found your sense of humor fresh and engaging. I’m encouraged by your posts to continue fighting the internal battle that tells me I won’t be a good teacher because I came to this profession later than my colleagues and hold my Bachelors in Information Design, not Education, and to continue believing that the rest of society will come to their senses and realize that we do this for the kids.Thank you for posting!
    LZ

    • Hey Lindsay,
      I think career changer teachers have value that is amazing. They can see things that other teachers take for granted about the profession. So never let that be an issue for you. Seriously. There are a lot of other issues in teaching! Best of luck :)
      Warmly,
      Lori

    • Wow–Thanks, Mark! Much appreciated. I feel that my writing comes and goes with my work schedule, but I always have a list of blog posts to compose and eventually I get to most of them. Teaching–which I love–takes up so much of my time when I have a full load (last fall). My teaching:writing is always a struggle for balance. When I teach a lot I write less (but I have so much to write about!), when I teach less I write more, and then there’s the struggle to write here versus my academic writing. Blah blah blah! But thanks. Really :)

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