Awards & Recognition
- GVWP Teacher Consultant
Tremendously. I pride myself on creating community in the classroom and providing a safe environment for students. I know the safe classroom environment goes without saying (or should), but the philosophy of trying to build a community in my writing class had the potential to be questioned or dismissed. Even though I knew, in my gut, that building a community in my classroom was essential, I wasn’t sure if it was “academic” or practical. After my mentor and Co-Director of the Great Valley Writing Project, Dr. Stephanie Paterson, nominated me for the Invitational Leadership Institute in the Teaching of Writing and introduced me to fellow GVWP Co-Director, Carol Minner, at the Institute, my teaching philosophy was cemented. The four weeks I spent with her and my fellow Teacher Consultants were filled with community. After our time together, I was more confident than ever that community needed to be a major component in my writing classroom.
I now write constantly. During the Invitational Leadership Institute in the Teaching of Writing, I was given the time to write, time that I wasn’t providing myself prior. Because of the time that GVWP allotted me, I was able to get into a habit of writing each morning (and feeling lost if I forgot to write). As a result of GVWP’s encouragement to incorporate time to write every day, I have had an essay published, and a proposal I sent in to the English Council of California Two-Year Colleges was accepted, and I spoke at the conference.
This may be the area where the Great Valley Writing Project has had the most impact. As a new teacher in a college full of PhDs, it can be difficult to find a voice. The Teacher Consultants at the GVWP encouraged and supported the ideas I was trying to flesh out. Beyond the tremendous support, my fellow Teacher Consultants have also provided many leadership opportunities, for example, facilitating discussion at the California Teachers Summit and leading book talks for a local high school. One of the goals of the Writing Project is to develop teachers who are leaders, teachers who have a voice. GVWP has helped me find my voice, and they are relentless in helping others do the same.
I believe in hard work. The foundation for how I teach writing is sweat. Like any craft that requires you to work with your hands, writing requires practice. Writing well requires writing. Along with hard work, I believe in forming a community in my classroom that is built on respectful, caring, and supportive relationships. My beliefs were engrained in me before I became a Teacher Consultant for the Great Valley Writing Project, but the Leadership Institute and the people I have met through GVWP have been instrumental in supporting and advancing my beliefs about teaching writing.
Last year was my first year teaching, and I had a ton of questions, and I was uncertain about many aspects of teaching my own class. During graduate school I read everything, but one of the authors that stood out was Brock Dethier. Since I was concerned about teaching my own class, I looked up all the books Dethier had authored. The first one that showed up in my search results was, surprisingly, exactly what I was looking for. Dethier’s First Time Up: An Insider’s Guide for New Composition Teachers helped answer the majority of my concerns and made me aware of effective practices that I could include in my own classroom. If you are a new teacher or you know a new teacher, Dethier’s voice and knowledge are comforting and helpful.