About your author…

Hello – and please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Alene Harris. I am a teacher and a teacher of teachers, who is supposedly retired after working with…

…2,000-plus students, grades, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11,

…1,500-plus college undergrad and masters-level students,

…2,000-plus K-12 teachers and administrators,

… and 500-plus university post-docs and professors.


In the late sixties, I moved from a farm in Daviess County, Kentucky, to begin my teaching career in Nashville, Tennessee.  Armed with a college education in secondary English and in psychology, I taught mostly middle schoolers for 16 years.  I worked in three public schools in various areas of the city and in an independent school.  I often joke that I’ve taught in areas from the crème de la crème to “crumb de la crumb”– from students who lived in old mansions to federal housing projects.


My transition from teaching mostly middle schoolers to preparing future teachers resulted from a keynote speaker’s plea at a Tennessee Association of Independent Schools (TAIS) conference for more effective teacher preparation.  I was intrigued – and wondered if I could find a way to share with future teachers effective strategies I had figured out in my 16 years.  So, again after much prayer and soul searching, and at an age when I was older than most of my professors, I returned to Graduate School.


While a graduate student at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, I became involved in conducting research on effective teaching and classroom management, and translating that research into workshops for teachers.  After completing the Ph.D., I expended energy the next 26 years as a Research Assistant Professor of Education at Vandy, teaching future teachers, researching teacher effectiveness, and holding workshops on classroom management in 43 states and one U.S. territory.


After 46 years in education, I remain passionate about preparing successful teachers who develop successful students. To that end, I find myself writing books and continuing to do workshops to help teachers maximize their teaching potential – and now writing this blog.


About this blog…


After 40 years of teaching, I offer 40 thoughts. I hope these help change your classroom as they did mine.


My purpose for the 40 weeks is to offer 40 thoughts on “words of wisdom” I’ve pounded into the ears (and hopefully heads) of future teachers who are now well-seasoned teachers – several of whom have strongly suggested I get blogging and “share like you told us to do!”  Ouch!  They are right.


The 40 Words of Wisdom reflect a proactive teaching philosophy that believes each child is an unique human being worthy of our time and effort. The 40 Words of Wisdom are not instructional strategies or approaches to lesson design. They are instead ideas that touch on the following:


  • Encouraging Student On-task Behavior
  • Helping Students Be Academically Successful
  • Proactive Behavior Management
  • Student Assessment
  • Student Treatment
  • Teacher Mindset
  • Teacher Professionalism
  • Teacher Sanity


And I invite you to share with others any ideas you find here… As you’ll see in the first Word of Wisdom in this week’s posting.