Join me in sending just two positive emails each week during the first quarter of the school year — a small investment with huge returns for classroom culture.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

A few years ago, I decided to set a goal for myself during the first quarter of the school year: I would send at least two positive emails at the end of every week.

The subject of these emails? …


You brought copies of your resume and dressed for success, but here’s what else you should do to “wow” your interviewers — and walk out with a contract.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash.

In the field of education, summer is the season of much-needed relaxation. For some of us, however, it’s also the season of nerve-wracking interviews. As a teacher who’s been on both sides of the hiring process, I’ve picked up a few tips beyond “arrive early” and “give a firm handshake” to help fellow educators land the teaching job of their dreams.

1. Say hello.

Interview committees are often composed of a variety of community members…


Enabling students to identify and evaluate the psychological techniques used by cults can help them develop critical thinking skills — and shut down accusations of “indoctrination” in schools.

Photo by Garidy Sanders on Unsplash.

As the debate about critical race theory continues to rage across the country, resulting in asinine legislation that only serves to undermine freedom of speech (and thought) in schools, an article from National Review captured my attention — and made me shudder.

STOPPING K-12 INDOCTRINATION IS RIGHT, the headline pronounces. Author Stanley Kurtz, who holds a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Harvard, joins the crusade against critical race theory and condemns “the imposition of this pernicious orthodoxy on schoolchildren.” …


Forbes claims the best high schools have 400–500 students. So how can deeper learning happen at “shopping mall” high schools like mine?

Photo by Aedrian on Unsplash.

To date, some of the most powerful insights I’ve gained as an educator originated from Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine’s book, In Search of Deeper Learning. Here are just a few of the annotations I jotted down in the margins while reading the text:

  • Balance foundational skills with student-directed learning.
  • Cultivate opportunities for different students to excel in different ways.
  • Create a constructivist atmosphere by co-exploring and co-creating with students.
  • Model natural curiosity, inquiry, and intense effort in…

Once I started asking my students what, how, and why they wanted to learn, class suddenly got a lot more interesting — for all of us.

Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash.

The 2020–2021 school year was, simply put, a wild ride.

Other than turbulence and uncertainty, there were few constants in my first two months back in the classroom (which at that time was completely virtual). The lessons, units, and assessments I’d spent years meticulously developing suddenly seemed…irrelevant. What seventeen-year-olds would really care about making thematic connections in The Great Gatsby next week when they weren’t even sure if the world as they knew it would still exist the next day?

Because I’d learned that irrelevance precipitates disengagement (which in turn decreases achievement), I knew I needed to act quickly before…


A re-worded education bill confirms what many educators already know: our implicit role is to protect white supremacy.

Photo by Hrt+Soul Design on Unsplash.

Just two weeks ago, I joined thousands of educators in celebrating the defeat of Arizona SB 1532 — legislation that would have 1) banned them from teaching lessons involving “controversial” issues, 2) required them to give “equal weight” to all perspectives in their classrooms (which, in theory, could lead to lessons like “Cyberbullying: Pros and Cons”), and 3) fined them $5,000 for violating these terms.

Our celebrations, however, turned out to be premature. Last week, the Arizona legislature passed a re-worded version of the bill that prohibits educators from “[implying] any race is inherently racist or should be discriminated against.”…


Benefits, considerations, and tips from a teacher on her second attempt to become an NBCT.

Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash.

Four days ago, I clicked “submit” on my second attempt to become a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). Developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, this license indicates that a teacher has demonstrated mastery of 1) content knowledge, 2) differentiation in instruction, 3) teaching practice and learning environment, and 4) effective and reflective practitioning.

In the final week leading up to the deadline, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I’d been working on National Board Certification for almost three years (including a one-year…


Trying to prevent burnout and reinvigorate your teaching practice? Then find the “believers.”

Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash.

I was recently reintroduced to my new principal during the second week of summer school.

I’d been sitting at my desk entering grades when Mike popped his head into the doorway. “Hi there!” he declared. “Is this an okay time to come in?”

After inviting him to sit down and exchanging a few pleasantries, I saw Mike’s eyes drift to the whiteboard, where I’d written my name as a reference for my new students.

“Oh, you’re Rachel Thune!” he exclaimed. …


Enabling students to explore their worldviews— and those of their peers — promotes authentic inquiry, critical thinking, and empathy.

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash.

Earlier this year, my administrators took a risk: they tasked the students in my Leadership class with developing a virtual professional development course for the 175 teachers and staff at our high school. The topics? Systemic and structural racism, implicit and explicit bias, and religious tolerance and diversity.

After two months of preparation, my students delivered a training session that their instructors described in a follow-up survey as…

Relevant.

Engaging. Can I use these materials with my own students?

Impactful.

Practical…


When in doubt, look at grades from a student’s perspective.

Created by the author using https://www.befunky.com/.

I’ve been a student for approximately 26 of my 31 years of life. For most of that time, I’ve had it pretty easy.

But that changed when I started my second master’s degree.

I could blame the challenges I’ve had in my program on that fact that I enrolled in January 2020 (two months before the advent of quarantine), but that would be a complete misrepresentation — in fact, I’m one of those “kids” that actually likes online learning.

The real story is that I tried something new: more specially…

Rachel Thune Real

Mrs. Thune (pronounced “tune”). High school teacher/content creator reflecting on growth mindset, emotional intelligence, and antiracism in the classroom.

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