Speak, Trigger Warnings, and Listening to Student Needs


  • Andrea Marshbank Seaman High School




English language arts is a vulnerable subject. It involves self-expression, serious reflection, and deep discussion in a way that I did not understand when completing my pre-service teaching program. Entering this profession last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the complex subjects my students were eager to write about. Excited, I grabbed ahold of their engagement. We used it as fuel. My students have written essays, podcasts, and blogs on their home-life struggles, the unbelievable pressures of high school, and the microaggressive acts of racism teachers can not quite catch in the hallways. Together, my students and I learned that writing and talking about these issues creates positive change. I loved giving my students the chance to write about and discuss hard topics in my classroom. On the days when we cleared out the mumbo-jumbo of normal class expectations, when we simply talked and wrote about real world issues, it was those days that were special. They were meaningful. My kids asked for more days like them, and I tried to honor that request.

Author Biography

  • Andrea Marshbank, Seaman High School

    Andrea Marshbank is a second-year English language arts teacher and assistant debate and forensics coach at Seaman High School. She is also a Teacher Leader for the National Writing Project, a 2018 Kansas Horizon Award Nominee, and frequent guest blogger for Edutopia. Ms. Marshbank has spoken about her award-winning writing on EduTalk Radio, presented at the 2017 National Council
    of Teachers of English Convention on teaching students digital literacy to improve online research skills, and at the 2017 Mid-America Association for Computers in Education Conference on using film as literature in the English classroom. Check out her blog at www.themarshbankclassroom.com
    or contact her at andreamarshbank@gmail.com.






Reflective Essays