EVENT Mar 30
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The Emotional Lives of English Teachers: Stories from Our Classrooms (Edited Collection)

Organization: Northern Kentucky University
Categories: Pedagogy
Event Date: 2023-03-30 to 2023-03-30 Abstract Due: 2023-03-30


The Emotional Lives of English Teachers: Stories from Our Classrooms (Edited Collection)

Every teacher has a voice and a story to tell. Our stories matter. Not only do they matter, but as Lad Tobin has argued, acknowledging our emotions and our stories is essential if we are going to be effective teachers of writing and literature. As human beings, we cannot disconnect from our emotions. It is through the sharing of our stories that true learning and meaning occur.

Today’s teachers are experiencing enormous emotional pressures, both in and out of the classroom. Teachers are trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance while also addressing students’ post-COVID social and emotional needs. Teachers are being pressed to do more and more administrative tasks while also planning and implementing instruction and assessment. The emotional challenges are numerous.

Teaching and learning can take place only in a safe and caring environment, yet public distrust and negative social media are having a disheartening effect. News accounts of teachers and library media specialists being disciplined, harassed, bullied, or even fired instill fear in English teachers everywhere. Teachers in some states are having their classroom libraries monitored. Members of the public are second-guessing our motives surrounding difficult conversations that arise when reading literature.

Students may share personal revelations in their writing that cause us to fear for their emotional or even physical health. They need caring adults, and sometimes the only person there for them is the teacher. We worry about policy makers disrupting our crucial teacher-student relationships. The emotional effects of all these pressures are real.

We invite you–English teachers and pre-service teachers at all levels--elementary, middle, secondary, and college—to tell your stories. We seek a range of approaches: personal narratives; research-based articles; essays that combine research and the personal. The final result, we hope, will be a book by English teachers, for English teachers, about the emotional work of being an English teacher.

You may wish to submit on the following topics, or a combination, or a topic of your own. This is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Physical/emotional well-being of teachers
  • Students experiencing or writing about trauma
  • Emotional experience of student teaching
  • Increased workload / decreased resources
  • Teaching after trauma
  • Pressures related to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Book challenges/censorship
  • Threats to teacher autonomy over what and how we teach
  • Impact of social media
  • Parental/community pressures


Jonathan S. Cullick, Ph.D. is Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. A specialist in secondary English language arts education, he teaches methods courses and mentors student teachers in the schools. He is most recently co-editor of Mockingbird Grows Up: Re-Reading Harper Lee (University of Tennessee Press, 2020) and author of All the King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

Ginger Blackwell, Ed.D is Associate Dean of Northern Kentucky University’s College of Education. Previous experience includes 27 years in public schools where she served in a variety of roles including high school English teacher, elementary and middle grades library media specialist, high school assistant principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent.


The editors are in the process of proposing this project to a publisher. Contributions cannot be previously published.

Please send an abstract of 300–500 words with a CV, resume, or brief biography to Jonathan Cullick and Ginger Blackwell (cullickj@nku.edu; blackwellg1@nku.edu).

Deadline to submit abstract: 30-March-2023
Notification of acceptance: 30-May-2023
Full essays of 5000–8000 words due: 30-October-2023

Best wishes,

Jonathan S. Cullick, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of English
Northern Kentucky University

Ginger Blackwell, Ed.D.
Associate Dean, College of Education
Clinical Associate Professor
Northern Kentucky University


Jonathan S. Cullick