Kathleen Melville teaches English, Spanish and playwriting at a small public high school in Philadelphia. A graduate of Swarthmore College, her degree is in English and education. Her teaching career includes two years at a bilingual school in Guatemala City and two years at a small Friends school for students with learning differences. She is also a teaching consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project and enjoys reading, traveling and spending time outdoors.

Articles by Kathleen

Talking With Students About Ferguson and Racism

This teacher believes it’s crucial for white teachers like her to seek out productive ways to talk about race and racism with students.

Phone Calls Cross Boundaries

Despite language barriers and inadequate translation, teachers can find clarity and solutions by reaching out to students’ families.

Students Struggle to Fit in Small Classroom

When a conflict between students escalated to a physical level, this teacher looked at all the factors involved, including the classroom space.

Peer Perspective Challenges Stereotypes

On a recent field trip, I found Nashley and Bersabeh in a quiet corner of the library, sharing both a chair and a book. For an English teacher, this scene is pure gold: two ninth-graders, becoming friends, in the library, reading a book. I snapped a photo before squealing my delight. Then, I crouched down next to them to find out more about what they were reading.

A Sheet Protector Taught Me to Hear

I hate sheet protectors. Those shiny, clear plastic sheaths have no place in my classroom. When my new ninth-graders hand in their summer reading logs each September, the first thing I do is remove and return all the sheet protectors. They make it impossible for me to maintain my neat stacks of student work. They don’t quite fit into the file folders I use to transport those stacks home to grade them. I have to remove them before I can write any feedback.