My name is Jeanne Wolz (pronounced: Jeen), and I’ve been a middle school ELA teacher in a small, urban community in Illinois for the past 4  years.  I’m currently working on my Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in ESL/Bilingual Education.

A few years ago, during my second year of teaching, after a slew of teachers quit at my school, I became the ELA department head at my school.  I found myself at district decision tables and in half a dozen committees, all while I was still figuring out how to teach argument writing to 14 year olds–which was super crazy, but did teach me a ton and led to a nomination for the IACTE Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award.  One thing that has defined my career has been an obsessive passion for high quality, equitable education for our kids–and while I don’t have all the answers, I want to connect with you to keep working towards that goal.

Teacher Off Duty is a blog dedicated to what teachers do behind the scenes.  It’s a blog that might simulate a conversation you might have with another teacher kicking back–about craft or about how they keep sane–or simply be a go-to blog for when you’re sipping coffee on a Saturday.  Because let’s be real: even when we’re off duty, we’re on.

TOD will have teaching resources, policy guides, self-care tips, and even travel ideas for your breaks.  If there is something I’ve realized to be true, it’s that how teachers spend their time outside of the classroom can define what they do inside the classroom.  I’m passionate about helping other educators work smarter, advocate better, and take care of themselves so we can go out there and keep fighting the good fight.

Want a place to start?

Teacher Resources

I LOVE teaching slam poetry.  If you do too, or have never heard of it but are interested a crazy engaging way to teach poetry, check out this post where I’ve compiled over 25 of my favorite slam poems to use in the classroom.

Also, this post about teaching kids how to use quotes as textual evidence, written while I was still in college, was my first ever blog post that hit over 10k views.  I hope it can help you as much as it helped others.

Read how at the press of a few buttons, I had 28 other teachers in my squirrel-y 6th grade room by using differentiated recorded lessons, fo’ FREE!

Travel for Teachers

I’m passionate about why all teachers should travel, and want to make it as easy as possible for you.  Check out my first Teacher-Budget Travel about Costa Rica.  I might be biased, but that country is my favorite place in the world, and one you can’t miss.


Finally, check out this post on why self-care is possibly one of the most important things for both our kids, for ourselves, and for our education system as a whole.  This forms the core of what inspired Teacher Off Duty.