Ashley Lauren Samsa

Ashley Lauren Samsa teaches high school English in the south suburbs of Chicago. She also does some freelance writing.


Pages authored by Ashley Lauren Samsa

Blog post
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Using Banned Books to Address Race in Class September 21-27, 2014, marks Banned Books Week. This year, I’ve decided to take a different approach to talking about banned books with my students...
Defeating Sexism in Sports Culture At the end of this school year — like every school year — prom fever was in the air. Posters advertising candidates for prom king and queen decorated...
Telling the Story of Privilege A few years ago, I decided to teach Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth, Richard Wright's autobiography about growing up African American in...
Saying No to Social Bullying As the sponsor of an extracurricular girls’ group at the high school where I teach, I was recently asked to attend a one-day seminar on cyberbullying...
A Modern Look at Banned Books It’s Banned Books Week, which means it’s time to draw students’ attention to books frequently challenged in schools and libraries. It’s also an...
Questioning My Own Practice Last spring, when Teaching Tolerance released their feature article about the school-to-prison pipeline, I was right in the middle of one of the most...
'Persepolis' in the Classroom Led to Understanding When early news reports spread this spring that Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett had banned Persepolis and asked that Marjane Satrapi’...
Building a Healthy Body Image Can Be Fun Last month, I took students from my afterschool girls’ empowerment group to a leadership conference hosted by our Regional Office of Education. There...
Respect the 'Little Q' in Your Class Each year, on the first day of classes, I pull up the rosters to try to pronounce my students’ names before they rush into my classroom. I don’t want...
‘Rape Culture’ Lives Close to Home The other day, a student was angry about something she was studying in another class. “Did you know that there was just a girl who died from being...
Facebook Posts May Hurt College Plans It’s that time of year again—when former students come into my classroom to vent about the college application process. I’ve already written more...
Day of the Girl Inspires Student Action The first International Day of the Girl, a United Nations initiative to promote gender equality around the world, was Oct. 11. When I explained the...
Celebrate Reading Freedom with a Banned Book Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is my favorite book to teach. It’s the reason I became a high school English teacher. Years ago  when my teacher...
Keep Students Strong While We Stop Bullies After teaching a particularly grueling class, I looked forward to the solace of my 55-minute planning period. I started to organize the black hole...
After Tragedy, Rally Students for Change The day after Valentine’s Day 2008, I watched my 1st period students file into the room. They were uncharacteristically quiet. When the bell rang,...
Personal Connections Empower Students I just started my sixth year teaching high school English. This year began with the same question as always: “How will I empower the young women in...
Magazine Feature Story
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The Gentle Catalyst When activist writer Peggy McIntosh published “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” in 1990, she made privilege visible. The piece...