Solving Challenges Teachers Face Now

Education Write Now, Volume III: Solutions to Common Challenges in Your School or Classroom 
Edited by Jeffery Zoul and Sanee Bell
(Routledge, 2020 – Learn more)

Reviewed by Linda Biondi

Issues in education are in the forefront every day and are huge topics of discussion in the news and within the public sector, especially with the challenges that schools have had to face because of Covid.

Parents are worried that their children are falling behind. School districts are facing budget cuts and potential labor shortages. Teachers are trying their best to meet the needs of all their students but are also facing teacher burnout.

Education Write Now Volume III is desperately needed by teachers and administrators.

10 educators look at today’s challenges

Teaching any time is difficult, and the challenges you face daily with students, colleagues, families and administration sometimes feel overwhelming. Education Write Now helps to relieve some of that anxiety and offers solutions that the reader can immediately apply.

What is great about the book is that readers quickly realize – as they listen to the voices of nearly a dozen fellow educators – that they are not alone in experiencing challenges like promoting positive student behavior or sustaining our joy while teaching.

The book is divided into three important sections: Personal Challenges as a Teacher,; Challenges in Your Classroom; and Challenges in Your School. Each author in this anthology shares experiences with such relatable transparency that you wonder whether they are mind readers.

As I read each chapter, I knew that these authors were writing from their heart. They still “live in the trenches” of education and want to share their experiences to best meet the needs of our students.

Each topic presented in the book is valuable and affirming. The authors help the reader meet challenges such as:

  • Lynell Powell on ways to sustain joy
  • Rachelle Dene Poth on how to break free from isolation
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd on broadening our definition of literacy
  • Josh Stumpenhorst on making libraries relevant
  • David Geurin on developing perseverance in children
  • Jeffrey Zoul on how to promote positive student behavior
  • Sanee Bell on connecting with students of color
  • Ross Cooper on elevating instructional supervision
  • Katie Martin on powering up professional learning
  • Danny Steele on maintaining staff morale

No one would disagree with the statement that we need to provide high quality education for our children, and I am sure that many would agree that there are challenges in reaching that lofty goal. What resonates throughout each chapter of Education Write Now is how each writer speaks not just from the heart, not just from experience, but also from their own efforts to improve their teaching practices.

For example: Josh Stumpenhorst’s chapter introduces ideas about how to make the school library a relevant and inviting place for students. Libraries have evolved from shelves of books neatly arranged alphabetically to a place for students to build and create such as in a Makerspace. He had great ideas for librarians to become more involved in the school environment and to connect with students and teachers.

I like the progression of the sections of the book. The first chapter focuses on Sustaining Joy, how to find joy each day in spite of the obstacles that might impede our way. The author shared her own stories and gave practical advice on how to recognize when you need that bit of renewal and how to take time to re-adjust, restart or refocus.

The middle section helped guide the educator through trials and tribulations such as developing perseverance in children and promoting positive behavior.

The final section focused on meeting challenges in the school community such as elevating instructional leadership, helping teachers to shift their PD experiences from being merely compliant to becoming empowered and taking charge of their professional learning as they create collaborative communities.

Although the final section may appear to be centered on administrators, the power to make the changes comes from the broader school community of adult learners. Once we realize that we are in it together, we will welcome and celebrate change.

A valuable resource for all educators

The encouragement found in Education Write Now Volume III: Solutions to Common Challenges in Your School or Classroom is needed in this pandemic year. The stress levels of our school communities are prompting some educators to look for other careers.

This book provides useful strategies for the reader to begin to use to help start the movement toward a less stressful academic environment. The chapters are easy to read, practical to follow, and a valuable resource for all educators. It’s an absolute must read for all educators, speaking not only to the mind but also the heart.

After teaching fourth and fifth graders for 41 years, Linda Biondi is supervising preservice and student teachers at The College of New Jersey and Rider University. She has co-facilitated summer writing institutes in conjunction with the National Writing Project and volunteers for two service organizations: Homefront and Dress for Success of Central New Jersey – with missions to end homelessness and empower women to achieve through economic independence.


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