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Misty Slopes


Educator. Writer. Advocate.


Instructor Bio


I grew up in Illinois with my twin sister, older brother, and parents. After completing a bachelor's degree in English at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Western Illinois University, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to become a middle school teacher.


Working in the middle level developed my understanding that all teachers need to embrace democratic, culturally sustaining practices that preserve the dignity and humanity of all students. This realization led me to pursue a Ph.D. in teacher education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I have worked as an assistant professor and program coordinator with teacher education programs, and I am passionate about education innovation and reform. I believe that K-12 and higher education should focus more purposefully on ensuring all students have access to quality education.

Outside of education, I work with The Bike Box Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals with Parkinson's Disease and to raising money for PD research. 

Kids Reading Book in Park

This section includes information that will be relevant for many different literacy courses that I teach, including Children's Literature, Content Area Literacy, and Reading and Language Arts for elementary, middle, and secondary.


Research and Articles



Annual teacher attrition hovers around 8% and causes of teacher attrition have been studied widely. However, more needs to be known about specific aspects of teacher preparation that can foster retention. The goal of this study was to understand the perspectives of veteran teachers regarding retention. This investigation employed semi-structured interviews with teachers who graduated from a south western university and who have persisted in their teaching careers in a large, urban school district. Our analyses conveyed that rich field experiences and particular characteristics of mentor teachers can foster retention; however, these persisters also persevered through inauthentic teacher preparation experiences.

Keywords: teacher retention, teacher preparation programs

Best Friends


Teacher preparation programs in the U.S. have adopted social justice approaches in their work. However, it is necessary to investigate how teacher preparation programs foster an asset orientation in teacher candidates—particularly as Alternative Routes to Licensure have increased in popularity. The current investigation was an interview study of teacher candidates’ experiences after completing an asset mapping activity as part of their field experiences. Participants consistently described how the activity helped them to foster relationships with their students through (a) making connections, (b) humanizing students, and (c) community scaffolding. We explore the implications of these findings for teacher preparation research and practice.

Image by Fred Moon


In this essay, a broad spectrum of the work of influential educational scholars was examined in order to identify crucial components of teaching for democracy. Synthesizing the literature with their experiences as middle level teachers and teacher educators, the authors determined those conceptions that would be most fruitful for moving pre-service teachers to enact the more “muscular” concepts that foster civic participation and social justice. This collaboration resulted in the identification of four democratic practices as a foundation for designing a course on teaching for democracy. These included amplification of the voices of historically marginalized people, recognition that those in power must work to meet the needs of those without power, recognition of the advantages of diversity even at the potential expense of efficiency, and collaboration in order to teach for democracy.

Image by Joshua Ness


Although the importance of mentor teachers in clinical teacher preparation is well established, few researchers explore the social identity development of these individuals. Through our study we contribute to the body of research by exploring mentor teachers’ social identity development through the concept of Apprenticeship of Observation – specifically, how they felt their own mentoring experiences influenced their approaches to mentoring. The multi-case study includes findings about mentoring beliefs and practices during the laboratory school component of an Alternate Route to Licensure program. Incorporating semi-structured interviews and video analysis, the findings demonstrate how four mentor teachers’ prior experiences as mentees – including Alternate Route to Licensure, traditional teacher preparation programs, and inservice teaching – influenced their interactions with teacher candidates as mentors. Recommendations for practice and implications for future research are provided.

Image by NeONBRAND


This study examines the creation and implementation of a video-based assessment of teacher knowledge of effective teaching called the Video Assessment of Teacher Knowledge (VATK). The VATK was developed with the intention of creating an easily administered, standardised assessment that can potentially provide information
on teacher candidate knowledge of teaching at important points during their training programmes and into the teaching field. The theoretical framework upon which the VATK was developed and the process for item creation are described. Classical test theory and item response theory analysis were conducted to determine the measure’s potential for use in future studies. Analyses indicate that after some questions are removed, the measure is sensitive to differences in teachers’ pedagogical knowledge.

Image by Felipe Furtado


The purpose of this study was to examine how secondary teacher candidates in a general methods course and a school-based field experience learn lesson planning. It provides insight regarding the interactions of the teacher candidates’ methods course and first practicum experience. The general research question is, How do teacher candidates’ experiences in a concurrent practicum experience and methods course shape their lesson planning practices? Specifically, we investigated the following: (a) How does concurrent enrollment influence teacher candidates’ planning to use teacher-centered and student-centered methods? (b) How do university- and school-based contexts impact teacher candidates’ lesson planning choices?

Find more info on ResearchGate

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