ask Auntie Siobhan!

directionsAre you worried as you prepare for the upcoming school year? Are you having nightmares about something you think is going to go wrong? Are you struggling with an idea you’d like to implement, but don’t know how? Are you haunted by a past classroom incident that you didn’t resolve to your satisfaction? Is the administration, or a colleague, making you crazy? Are you a Tuggle (non-teaching person) who has a burning question about the teaching profession?

Do you need teaching advice?

Write to me with your dilemmas, conundrums and riddles, and I will resolve them for you.

Next week I’ll be guest posting over at the education blog at (thanks, Clay Burell, for the invite!) While I’m there, I’m going to test run a future blog feature: Ask Auntie Siobhan.

My plan is to put my twenty years of teaching experience and 1 1/2 teaching degrees to use for you. Write to me about the teaching problems that are on your mind, and I’ll give my half-baked advice. But it doesn’t stop there! Many of my readers, and’s readers, are teachers, and we teachers are a bossy bunch – I’m counting on them to chime in with their input.

OK, it’s true, I’m not actually going to tell you anything earth-shattering that will put an end to all your teaching difficulties forever. But I’ll give you my thoughts, and I hope others will too, and it will make for a lively discussion, and there will doubtless be some nuggets of wisdom to glean from it all.

Each day, I’ll post questions and responses at I’ll also post here with a link to the site and a summary of the questions addressed that day. Any questions I don’t get to next week will be archived for future editions of “Ask Auntie Siobhan,” to be presented here at Classroom as Microcosm.

So write to me right now! Tell me what’s on your mind as you start thinking about the coming school year. Don’t be shy: no problem is too big, or too small, or too vague, or too embarrassing – believe me, if it’s happened to you, then something like it has happened to all of us.

If your question is brief, feel free to leave it in the comments below, but you can also send me an email at

I look forward to hearing from you!


7 thoughts on “ask Auntie Siobhan!

      1. Thanks Pete! I’ve been giggling ever since we committed to this experiment; I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.


  1. The posts that get the most visitor reaction on my blog, are definitely my “Dear Book Chook” letters, where people chime in with their corroboration or repudiation of my advice. I love the light-hearted way you’ve addressed it in this post, and I am looking forward to more!


    1. Book Chook: I’m really looking forward to getting reader responses (although I’m also a little nervous about the inevitable “this advice is asinine” comments!) The first “Ask Auntie Siobhan” post goes up tomorrow, and it’s about preventing plagiarism; I expect people will have a lot to say about this topic, and I hope they’ll say it!


  2. Dear Auntie Siobhan,

    I am a senior high school teacher who took a 5-year break from the classroom only to return in 2007. Boy have things changed!?

    I have been dismayed many times by the students lack of ‘engagement’ towards actually WORKING and LEARNING: I consider myself an ‘in tune’ teacher, who incorporates current issues into my lessons regulary. It seems that even the most interesting subjects/assignments don’t ‘get’ them. I often hear’ ‘Miss, why would I bother to ‘work’ when I don’t have to and still pass?’

    I have tried many ways to get them to understand that a good work ethic will bring them satisfaction and serve them well in life. Yet they still only do the bare minimum and rarely take any responsibility for what they produce. This is quite disheartening for me, and I’m at my wits end to find a solution….PLEASE help me!

    Generation X
    (who wonders why she returned to teaching in the first place!?)


    1. Generation X:
      Thanks so much for your question – I hope it will pique others’ interest as well! I will address it on next week and will link here when the post is up. I certainly have some thoughts on adolescent motivation and decision-making processes!


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