Posts Tagged 'Celebration of Teaching'

Summer Optimism: Basking on the Manic Side (for a change)

By Claudia Felske – I’ve written several times about the fact that teaching is fertile ground for manic depression: extreme highs and lows occur on a daily basis in this profession.

These past few years in Wisconsin education, though, the emphasis has been on the depressive side.

sunSo, as a temporary antidote to this condition and in the spirit of full disclosure that the manic side is indeed currently alive and well (chalk it up to summer optimism or perhaps sunstroke) I shall now blog about two recent occurrences that have offered a jolt of optimism in the life of this educator.

Both relate to my two most recent blogposts:

Last month, in Unintended Consequences: The Gutting of Education in Wisconsin, I blogged about the unfathomable proposal by the Joint Finance Committee to allow, among other things, the licensure of teachers who haven’t even earned a high school diploma.

The manic part? I’m here to report a happy(ish) ending. many thousands of phone calls to local legislatures (thank you) and 37,000 signatures (thank you) delivered to the State Capital, decrying the ludicracy of this measure, seem to have had an effect.

Though the new wording of this measure has not been released, promises have been made to remove language allowing non high school graduates to become teachers, and relegating non-degreed, non-certifiied positions to part time, difficult-to-fill positions. While the measure should be removed in its entirety, the tide has turned, and it looks like the integrity teacher licensure in Wisconsin will, at least for now, prevail.

Secondly, in May, Teacher Appreciation Month, I blogged about ten of my most influential teachers: 10 Teachers Par Excellence: A Belated Appreciation. While writing that post, it was fun reminiscing about all the great classroom moments I was subject to, and it was difficult choosing just ten.

What I didn’t expect (the manic part begins…) was that of the teachers I wrote about, 6 connected with me after reading the post (My 6th grade teacher, 8th grade science teacher, 11th & 12th grade English teacher and 3 of my college professors) sending email replies, grateful for the shout out, and anxious to “catch up,” reminding me of their generous souls, still interested in the education of their student.

But even more manic, imagine my surprise (and manic reaction) when a few weeks ago in late May into my classroom on a seemingly ordinary day walked Mr. Bergener, my 6th grade teacher. “I read your blogpost,” he explained, with an ear-to-ear grin, “I was typing you an email, but then thought, no, I really need to go see her.” 

rick b1So there he was, in my classroom, my beloved 6th grade teacher who I hadn’t seen in 36 years, when he used to be a daily part of my 10-year old life. I had the fortune of being able to thank him in person for the lasting impact he had on me. We reminisced about classroom moments and referenced the challenges of education today.

And upon my invitation, last week, Mr. Bergner and his lovely wife made a guest appearance at my 4th of July family get together, where he completed the reunion with the rest of my family, my parents and three of my siblings, each of whom he remembered in detail. He delighted in learning what we’re up to, caring about us as 6th graders and as adults.

And that, dear readers, not test scores, is the mark of a great teacher.

Thank you Rick Bergner, and thank you Wisconsinites for the wherewithal to make those calls and sign those petitions. Thank you for caring for Wisconsin students.

Therein lies my currently manic state wherein Kindness and the Public Good seem to be in the lead.

Let’s hope it’s a trend in Wisconsin and not just a fleeting moment of summer bliss.

10 Teachers Par Excellence: A Belated Appreciation

teacher-appreciationYes, Teacher Appreciation Week was LAST week. But perhaps this lateness is appropriate. Most appreciation of teachers is, after all, LATE.

How many of us start appreciating teachers 5, 10, 20 years after leaving their classrooms?

That said, here’s my late but sincere appreciation of just a few of my teachers par excellence—ten magnificent human beings who decided (and demonstrated) that teaching is a worthy way to spend one’s life:

Thank you to:

  1. Mrs. Leetz, my 3rd grade teacher, for her Writing Stations. She had brightly-papered boxes stuffed with story starters. Priscilla and I (Priscilla being the protagonist in all of my stories) couldn’t get enough. Perhaps those were the seeds that led me to my degree in creative writing and that novel still in the works.
  2. Mr. Bergner, my 6th grade teacher, who organized an enormous community plant sale in order to take his classroom of dressed-up 10 year-olds to Mader’s German restaurant for a gourmet meal after teaching us table manners. How cool was that?
  3. Mr. Gaulden, my 8th grade science teacher for cumulus stratus and cirrus, which I identify often. He taught me the kinds of clouds, what they do, and why I should care (the same can be said for so many natural phenomena).
  4. Mrs. Gorton, my 7th grade math teacher, for naming our polynomials ACDC, REO, and other cool names and for reading us mystery stories aloud when our assignments were done, because she wanted us to be careful thinkers.
  5. Mr. Yach, my 9th grade English teacher, who one morning introduced us to his “illustrious” wife and thanked her “profusely” for bringing him the V8 he forgot at home. First, I thought it was amazing to catch any glimpse of a teacher’s outside life; second, I wanted to use words like that, and eventually I did.
  6. Mrs. Tanzer, my 11th and 12th grade English teacher, for her tangents—anecdotes so fascinating that they made me want to be a reader and a writer and a teacher; and for the attention she paid to my words—lively and lengthy commentary down the margins of my papers, not just pointing out my errors, but celebrating my ideas.
  7. Mr. Neau, my band teacher, who infuriated me by making me master a crazy hard fingering pattern on my oboe in one breath—because, he said, I could do it and anything less from me wasn’t “A” work. He was right.
  8. Dr. Boly, my uber cerebral English Lit professor, who one unsuspecting day my Junior year, declared me “brilliant” in class when we were analyzing “Musee de Beaux Arts” and I thought, hey maybe I am.
  9. Dr. Maguire, my controversial theology professor, who I saw as the true intersection of intellect, pragmatism and morality; who helped me articulate why I think the way I do; who made me realize that one person’s common sense is another’s controversy, a lesson I’ve repeatedly experienced and embraced, knowing that I’m in good company.
  10. Dr. Jay, my multicultural literature professor who tipped my thinking on its side, challenging me to examine my eurocentric education, teaching me about cultural identity, and profoundly influencing my thinking and teaching.

Here lie just a fraction of the educators who greatly impacted my formative years, who have had a lasting influence into my adulthood, and who have made me revere teaching as the noble profession it is.

Thank you, all teachers, for lives well spent.

And now, dear readers, your turn. Let’s name names: what teachers have influenced you?

The comments board is open…

Honoring 10 VERY Special Urban Teachers — With a VERY Special Event!

TeacherAppreciationWeekLogoBy Bill Henk – The evening of October 17th marked the first Celebrate Teachers and Teaching event hosted by the Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee (EDGM).  In short, it qualified as a night to remember.

Perhaps more than anything else, the event served as a reminder that teaching and the appreciation of it is rooted in our very humanity.  Put differently, in the end the teaching profession is all about people — teachers, students, families, school leaders, board members, staff, and the community.  And so that’s the focus this post will take.

As a quick backdrop, the EDGM members *** had grown weary of the wrongful characterizations of teachers in recent years and decided to do something about it.  Unlike the way they were portrayed, the teachers we knew were very knowledgeable, skilled, caring, hard-working, and passionate.  As a result, we decided to sponsor an event that publicly affirmed the profession and demonstrated our gratitude to its classroom heroes.

To make a long story short, the event included an awards ceremony that honored 10 exemplary urban educators as well as a unique showcasing of the mastery of 11 local food vendors.  The award ceremony, skillfully emceed by Mark Sabljak, the publisher of the Milwaukee Business Journal and a staunch education advocate, also featured brief remarks by Dean Barbara Daley of UWM (the institutional host), Dr. Debra Dosemagen of Mount Mary University and an EDGM Co-Chair, and myself.   Dori Zori of Radio Milwaukee provided the music, and Patricia Kline took all of the photos presented here.

And the Winners Are

Let’s start with recognizing the award recipients.  These outstanding teachers are first pictured as a group and then listed individually below along with their school affiliations and the institutions where they earned their teaching certifications.

CT&T Award Winners 2013

EDGM Early-Career Award

Lauren Boyd, Milwaukee College Preparatory School – 38th St. Campus. Mount Mary University

EDGM Advanced-Career Award

Katerina Jones, Samuel Clemens School. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Stacey Lange, Walker Elementary School, West Allis. Alverno College
Marko Radmanovic, Escuela Vieau. University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee
Sonya Wasielewski, Carmen High School of Science & Technology. Alverno College
Michelle Young, Rufus King International Middle School. Alverno College

Honorable Mentions, Early-Career Award

Jane Savage, Seeds of Health-Windlake Elementary School. Alverno College
Dawn Liriano, St. Adalbert School. Alverno College
Naquisha Mann, Universal Academy for the College Bound-Millennium Campus. Alverno College

Honorable Mention, Advanced-Career Award

Craig Machut, Rufus King International High School. University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

For the record, each award winner was proudly nominated by her or his principal who assisted in the creation of the portfolios that were submitted for reviewi

Some VERY Well Deserved Thanks

Clearly the heavy lifting for the event fell to the Celebrate Teachers & Teaching Steering Committee. 

CT&T Steering CommitteeIts dedicated members included Helaine Hickson, Alex Vagelatos, and Kyle Stevens(UWM), Saj Thachenkary and Judith Reisetter (Alverno), Cynthia Marino (Cardinal Stritch), Lorraine Tyler (MATC), Dr. Patricia Ellis (Sharp Literacy) and Dr. Victoria Fitzgerald and Lori Fredrich (Marquette).   All of these professionals worked exceedingly hard and well to make the event so successful, and I’m personally indebted to Victoria for orchestrating the awards process and to Lori (and her husband, Paul of MKEfoodies) who conceptualied the format, organized the event logistics, and coordinated the procurement of the venue,  DJ, and restaurant partners.

The EDGM also wishes to thank our distinguished group of judges:   Alan Borsuk (MU School of Law and the Journal Sentinel), Danae Davis (Pearls for Teen Girls), Ellen Gilligan (Greater Milwaukee Foundation), Dr. James Rickabaugh (CESA #1),  Julia Taylor (Greater Milwaukee Committee), and JoAnn Miller, the 2012-2013 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year from Oconto Falls High School.

Our appreciation for the food vendors is absolutely profound.  Each generously donated their time, energy and works of culinary artistry to the eventTo a station, the food and beverages rose to the level of gourmet quality.  The vendors were Afro Fusion Cuisine, c.1880, Calatrava Café, Chef Gregory Leon, Indulgence Chocolatiers, La Merenda, Odd Duck, Pastiche, Purple Door Ice Cream, and the Rumpus Room.  

A very special thanks to Great Lakes Distillery for donating their facility for our celebration.

And lastly, thanks to the many supporters of education in the community who joined our celebration of teaching.  Your efforts to attend the event made our turnout terrific.

Now let me take you out by offering you the opportunity to watch a slideshow of photos from the event.  Like I said at the outset, people, people, and more people…


***The Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee (EDGM) membership:

  • Alverno College, Dr. Nancy Athanasiou
  • Cardinal Stritch University, Dr. Freda Russell
  • Carroll University, Dr. Kimberly White
  • Concordia University, Dr. Michael Uden
  • Marquette University, Dr. Bill Henk, Co-Chair
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College, Dr. Wilma Bonaparte
  • Mount Mary University, Dr. Debra Dosemagen, Co–Chair
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dr. Barbara Daley (Interim)
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College, Dr. David Brightsman

and influential Emeritus Deans:  Dr. Mary Diez, Alverno; Dr. Carol Colbeck, UWM

Celebration of Teaching: EDPL Faculty

By Melinda Skrade — These days, signs of the apocalypse range from threats of catastrophic economic collapse to the ideological storms surrounding schooling.
Interestingly, during uncertain times, people lean on schooling not only to advance and lead their own lives but also those lives in their care.
As one of the fortunate students who joined the doctoral studies in educational policy and leadership when Marquette’s College of Education was in development, I witnessed a department of leaders passionately and yet collaboratively build a shared understanding of best ways to frame and support students who were leaders in formation.
These best ways were modeled over and over again by this dedicated department:
Expect more from yourself — Read, write, study those positions that disrupt your positions and challenge your limited worldview. Learn be open to “unlearning” so that discovery and reconsideration of what is possible shifts inside you.
Teach as great teachers do-– by example. Do not talk people into your beliefs. That’s not teaching. Model thinking aloud, whether it is critique of a position or analysis of information. Demonstrate a love for learning by examining the interrelationships between story, mythology, and facts. Without fail, actively engage others to ground and present their thinking cogently. Walk alongside people in your care during their struggle with ambiguities about their worldview(s).
Do not let storms obscure the view of the larger landscape— no exceptions. Every field deals with the tension of the “micro” and the “macro” whether it is economics, government, theology, or education. Storms develop and wreak havoc and dissipate; nevertheless, it’s essential to develop field vision and institutional analysis to lead.
Be A Game Changer— think differently, live differently and lead differently. And those in your care will experience it, too. A real education.
Melinda Skrade serves as chief administrator for Pius XI High School in Milwaukee. She completed doctoral studies in Marquette University’s Educational Policy Program in 2004, and was honored as a College of Education Alumni Award winner in 2012 for her work advancing the efforts of K-12 Catholic schools. Melinda is married to Phil who graduated from MU’s Business School and who started Marquette’s Club Baseball.

Celebration of Teaching: Mr. Brian Weisse

Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School

By Mariclare Kanaley — The first time I met Mr. Brian Weisse, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

It was the spring of 2011– the end of the semester just before I was to start my student teaching; he was assigned to be my cooperating teacher, or “co-op,” as I called him. I got lost on my way to the school for my first meeting with him, couldn’t find the front door, and my only assignment for that day was to “bring a lot of bags” to carry all the books he was going to give me.

In our introductory meeting at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, he spoke of the ‘international baccalaureate’ and  ‘20th Century Grading’ and ‘internal assessments’ – all things I’d come to know quite well over the next few months, but had no clue about then. He sent me off with a bunch of papers and books (as promised) and I left in a small panic, overwhelmed by the unexpected.

I spent the summer of 2011 worrying about how to run my classroom, how much help I’d need, and to be honest, whether I really wanted to be a teacher after all. I’m pretty sure I e-mailed Mr. Weisse daily with questions. I sent him rough drafts and copies of assignments and rubrics, to which he assured me that I’d do just fine and that maybe I should calm down. It was that advice that he offered in many different ways throughout those 5 months. The version that stuck with me most was, “Mariclare, take the Bobby McFerrin approach to teaching… Don’t worry, be happy. If you worry, well… you’ll die.”

Needless to say, I adopted his approach to teaching. I spent the semester learning from the best teacher I’d ever had. I learned that I loved every minute of my job, from the frozen computer screens with lost, unsaved documents to the extensive IB Psyc essays whose grading kept me late. Brian Weisse showed me, quite clearly, why I want to be a teacher, and demonstrated the meaning of this irrepressible love for learning – something I always knew I had, but never had the words for. He did this all without even knowing it had been done.

My student teaching experience was exemplified by a collaboration I hadn’t known before. I admired the excitement Brian brought to his classes and the knowledge he had of his content. I admired the respect he demanded of his students and the ease with which he taught. I admired the fun he created in his classroom and the contagious joy and care endlessly present in room 301. Mostly, I admired the passion he showed for the field of education and the tenacity with which he spoke of his beliefs. It was in that classroom that I found my love for teaching, which is a gift of inordinate value.

I’d like to thank you, Brian, for being the teacher to dispel my disillusionment and bewilderment. Your gift has inspired a journey, and I can only hope to someday share the gift that you so graciously shared with me.


Mariclare Kanaley, EDUC ’11, was a Secondary Education, Psychology, and Broad Field Social Studies major. She is currently employed at Shorewood Intermediate School.  Her future plans include attending graduate school in Forensic Psychology to research and develop preventative strategies to help improve the success of at-risk youth in both academic and social settings.

Celebration of Teaching: YOU Were MY Difference, Mr. Graff

By Bill Henk – Somehow it’s only fitting that I use words to honor Harry Graff.  He was an extraordinary English teacher after all.  But he was so VERY much more.

During my senior year in high school, I had the privilege of experiencing one of Mr. Graff’s classes.  You’ll notice that I didn’t say “being in” or “sitting in” his class, because that’s not what students did there.  His classroom was vibrant and fun, and learning occurred so naturally and joyously that we almost failed to notice.  It didn’t feel like work at all.  We were fully  engaged academically,  socially. and emotionally.

Now, as I write this tributeI realize that my words can’t hope to do justice to the inspiration Mr. Graff provided — to me, my classmates, and thousands of other lucky students over the course of his 36-year career.   Nearly all of us were low-middle class, blue-collar kids growing up in three of the less idyllic suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Those of us who aspired to college would usually be the first in our families, and we could tell he enjoyed teaching and encouraging us.  Some of the students who didn’t have those dreams, though, were pretty tough kids, and many ended up in Mr. Graff’s classes, too.  Other students were afraid of them (and probably some of the teachers, too), but he wasn’t — or at least he never showed it.  We called these kids “hoods” back then, and they intimidated pretty much everyone.

But they never “jerked” Mr. Graff around.   And believe me they could have.

He was one of the few teachers spared  their chronic misbehavior.  The others who escaped were big, brawny, gruff, Cro-Magnon men — the no-nonsense type with a powerful teaching presence.  They could put the fear of God in you with one look.  You didn’t learn much in those classes; you just behaved.  But that’s not how Mr. Graff kept his challenging students in line.

Instead he somehow  managed to strip away the harsh veneers of the hoods with love, respect, and kindness.  Nothing more.  The sheer force of his humanity overpowered them.  When they realized how much he genuinely cared, they cared about him right back.  And he also kept seniors like me, who were quite full of themselves, on track, under control, and feeling cherished.

You know, I looked forward to that class EVERY single day.  It didn’t matter what we were studying.  I would have endured almost anything to be there learning from him — God awful grammar, crusty old literature, and mystifying poetry.  He made sure even that off-putting stuff came alive within his four walls.

I’ll conclude below with the words I’d use to describe Mr. Graff in a wordle or word cloud if you will.  He’d like that.  And it’s probably better than my clumsy writing up to this point.  But before I do, let me share the story of the last time I saw him, because it’s telling.

One Last Time

More than 30 years after graduating, in 2001, I visited my old high school.  I went there to see my sister, who worked in the business office at that time.  Mr. Graff’s name came up, and she asked if I wanted to see him.  She told me it would be his last year of teaching. For some reason, I hesitated, maybe fearing that the magic would be gone, but thankfully I got over that concern and decided to go.  It occurred to me that due to time and distance I might never see him again if I didn’t.

On the way, I imagined the look of surprise on his face when I revealed my identity.  That’s because I had grown more than six inches and put on more than 50 pounds in the time since I graduated.  And I’m almost certain he didn’t know my sister and I were related, because she had a different married name.

Anyway, after we reached the second floor, she knocked on his door, and he emerged, clearly looking older, but with the same  loving smile on his face that I remembered so well.  “I have someone I want you to meet,” my sister said.

Before another second passed, he blurted out, “Billy Henk, class of 1970, sixth period, second row, fifth seat.”  And then he started naming all of the other kids in the class, where they sat, and the highlights of that year.

His remarks stunned me, especially when I realized that he was exactly right.  Talk about a priceless moment.  We chatted pleasantly for a short while, and he seemed very proud that I had gone on to become an English teacher and later a college professor.  He needed to get back to his class, though, so we wished each other well and parted ways.

A Consummate Teacher

Afterwards I wondered how in the world Mr. Graff could have remembered so much.  It should have been obvious.

He had never approached teaching as a job.  At a minimum he treated it as a profession.  But it was much more to him  — it was a labor of love, his very identity, his calling.

At Marquette, we train teachers to “Be The Difference.”  That was Mr. Graff’s lived experience.

The multitude of students he had touched over the years were the fabric of his life, and he would leave all of them, including me — a veteran educator in my own right — thoroughly transformed and with  the fondest of school memories.  I’ll bet every one of us would describe him similarly to the way I’ve done just above on the right.

Harry Graff was an extraordinary human being after all.


Celebration of Teaching: Mrs. Tanzer

By Claudia Felske — She only taught me three things:

1. I’m smart and creative.
2. The world is an infinitely interesting place.
3. Life’s about learning and growing and never stopping either one.

I’m smart and creative.
The second youngest of 8, called “Klein” by many instead of Claudia, I was expected by my teachers to be a good student and an even better athlete, a mini-version of my older siblings.

Mrs. Tanzer, however, saw me as an individual, not just as a Klein. She marked my essays with phrases such as “lovely metaphor,” “profound!” “interesting perspective” unlike my previous English teacher whose sole aim was to circle every punctuation error. Reading her comments made me feel interesting, insightful, witty, and I proceeded accordingly.

My family’s expectations molded me into a 3-sport athlete though Mrs. Tanzer saw in me a glimmer of creativity, asking me to do the publicity for her drama productions. Though I wasn’t one dubbed “the artist” in my family, she complimented me on my precise lettering and artful arrangements of shape, color and text for the actor bios. It was the first time I felt the least bit artistic, and I liked the feeling.  Seeing my interest sparked, she encouraged me to participate in Forensics, something that had never been on my radar, but ended up being my favorite high school activity.

Under her direction, I went from being a wiggly-voiced introvert to being a power round orator.

The world’s an infinitely interesting place.
I first met her in the guidance office after I’d been kicked out of Sophomore English class for “reading upside down.” My teacher at the time had been reading A Separate Piece aloud at a pace I found excruciatingly slow. To keep my brain active, I followed along, with my book flipped upside down: an act he viewed as insubordination and I viewed as mental survival. When he told me I’d never get an A in his class because of my attitude, I left, and there was Mrs. Tanzer who just happened to be in the guidance office. In hindsight, it seems a fated meeting as within a few short years, English went from upside-down reading to my career of choice.

I’d listen to her in class, mesmerized, as she described the Dionysian rituals of the Greek theatre, as we picked apart “Ozymondias” and Antigone. These weren’t just stories and characters; they were opportunities for us to think about life, to talk about why we’re here, to marvel at the artistry of words.  I’d jot her words and phrases in my notebook margins, wanting to make them my own, wanting to command words and ideas and stories like she did.

Her “tangents” as a few of my more no-nonsense friends called them, to me, were windows to the world: its ideas, its contradictions, its stories. They married my learning to the interesting. “Bibliophile” sticks out in my mind as my favorite Mrs. Tanzer word and tangent and not just because I am one. “There are two types of bibliophiles,” she declared, ”those that write in their books because they love them so much, and those who can’t write in their books because they love them so much. I am the former; my husband’s the latter.” She went on to describe their book habits. I loved knowing this insider info, and forevermore the word, its roots, and that quote would live in my head.

Life’s about learning and growing and never stopping either one.
She taught me to do my best, always. She encouraged us to write and rewrite. And for her, I wanted to turn in nothing but my best. And so, senior year, the last day before Christmas break, I sat in the cafeteria, alone, revising an essay while the rest of the school was at the talent show. She accepted my revision after school, but then lightly scolded me for missing her performance as Cyndi Lauper singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – ironic since that’s precisely what she wanted me to have. She wanted excellence, but she also wanted us to enjoy life.  It’s what we now call teaching the whole child. Her lessons extended far beyond the classroom walls.

When we were Seniors, we went to see her act in a community play. What couldn’t she do? What wasn’t she reading or trying or talking about? I wanted to be this alive.

When I entered college and she became a mentor and a friend, the teaching never stopped. She asked me to coach forensics when I was still an undergraduate. It was during those coaching experiences that I knew I’d become a teacher.

When I dig to the roots of the most worthwhile professional paths, there stands Mrs. Tanzer. When I began teaching AP English, she encouraged me to join the AP listserve, where I became one of a large and generous community of learners. Later, she encouraged me to become an AP reader, describing it as the best professional development out there.

She was right. A few years ago, the phone rang, and she asked me to co-author a book for AP English Teachers with her. Under her tutelage I went from developing a new AP English class at my school to writing the book for it.

She keeps growing; it’s what she does. Just this year, she started taking dance lessons with her husband, and performing competitively. She has never stopped learning, and now, in “retirement,” she’s teaching as much as ever, proposing new curriculums, spearheading several writing projects. She’s more vital than ever.  An unwavering commitment to life and to learning.

That’s really all she taught me.


2010 High School Teacher of the Year, Claudia Felske, graduated from Marquette with a bachelor of arts degree in Writing Intensive English. She earned her teaching certificate and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  A Nationally Board Certified Teacher and published author, Felske teaches grades 9-12 English and serves as English Department Chair at East Troy High School in the East Troy Community School District. 

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