Dedication and Such

Surfing the Tidal Wave: Notes for New and Tired Teachers


By Marjie DeWilde

©2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


To Susan Acchione

who feeds children she’ll never meet, clothes children she’ll never hug, nurtures children she’ll never know, and makes them all wonder how a faraway family can love them so much


Many thanks go to Deana Schneringer for reading my first attempt and giving me three hours of feedback along with important topics to add.

I also have to thank my husband David for doing far more than his share of laundry, dishes and cooking, not only for this book, but for most of our marriage, my daughter Skylar for her daily faith that this book would be great even though she hadn’t read it, and my daughter Anna for her warm, and much-needed, hugs.

Thanks also to Lisa Lynch who feels “absolutely fabulous” even on those days when she has to drive a wheelchair to volunteer in my classroom. There are years I wouldn’t have survived without her helping individual students and grading and filing mountains of work. I hereby concede all future contests about whose desk is cleaner. She can stop bribing kids to sneak papers onto my desk any time.

Finally, I have to thank my mother, Barbara DeWilde, who let me work in her classroom as a teenager and lit the fuse, even though it was slow-burning. When I finally did start teaching, her advice was invaluable. And having her volunteer in my classroom these past six years has been a gift beyond measure. She organized my closet, my classroom and my day. She has spent her summers making enough materials to publish her own book and spent countless hours each school year working with reading, spelling, and math groups, bringing her old school methods into my contemporary classroom, and proving that real teachers never retire. They work their miracles from the back of the classroom.

Table of Contents

Part 1 – The Big Picture

Chapter 1 – Remember to Breathe

Chapter 2 – Listen To Yourself

Chapter 3 – Listen To Your Students

Chapter 4 – Keep a Simple Rhythm

Chapter 5 – Banish Anxiety

Chapter 6 – Be Brave

Chapter 7 – Make It Right

Chapter 8 – Demand the Best

Chapter 9 – Stand Strong

Chapter 10 – Live in the Tension

Chapter 11 – Never Stay Trapped

Chapter 12 – Let Your Students Change You

Part 2 – The Details

Chapter 13 – Count Your Students

Chapter 14 – Integrity

Chapter 15 – Discipline

Chapter 16 – Grades

Chapter 17 – Assessment

Chapter 18 – Differentiation

Chapter 19 – Parents

Chapter 20 – Colleagues

Chapter 21 – Substitute Teachers

Chapter 22 – The Siren Call of Technology

Chapter 23 – Manage Your PR

Chapter 24 – Remember to Laugh


A – The Idea Box

B – Case Studies

C – Simulation

D – Activities

E – Deciding What (Not) to Teach

F – Emergency Procedures

G – Middle School Presentation


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