Awards & Recognition
- San Joaquin County A+ Teacher Award
- GVWP Teacher Consultant
Often teachers feel they are working in isolation. Finding time to collaborate and build trusting relationships with co-workers is difficult with the multitude of responsibilities teachers face. This sentiment is even more profound for bilingual teachers. Bilingual classes or programs are almost hidden on a traditional school campus. These programs are often isolated from the rest of the staff and make collaboration and professional relationships even more difficult. This is the situation I found myself in for many years. The Writing Project, however, expanded the pool of teachers I had the opportunity to work and network with outside of my school site and even district. The Writing Project has given me a professional community of teachers to collaborate with, who support and challenge me in my lifelong desire to grow and improve.
Before participating in the Invitational Leadership Institute in the Teaching of Writing, I did not see writing as a passion, talent, or even among the top subjects that needed to be taught in my classroom. After that institute I realized that writing is a powerful way to communicate, many times more powerful than the spoken word. It surprises me that I hadn't made this connection since I love to read! I began to enjoy writing on a personal level as well as feeling confident enough to use writing as a tool to become a teacher researcher within my classroom.
Prior to Writing Project life, I was a competent and successful teacher within my own classroom... as long as the door was closed and no one was watching, judging. Though I knew my students grew and learned a lot, I didn't have the confidence, desire, or even the words to share what I did in my classroom, let alone lead anyone. With gentle nudging, and sometime downright prodding, by my Writing Project Director, I began to see that sharing my classroom teaching would not only help connect me to other teachers, it would also improve my practice through this type of collaboration.
Writing is the most powerful learning tool I can gift to my students. Being able to communicate, analyze, express, and enjoy the writing process sets up students for lifelong educational success. All students can write, no matter the age, primary language(s), or ability level.
Currently, How to Reach & Teach English Language Learners by Rachel Carrillo Syrja, is my favorite book to recommend, not only to EL or ELD teachers, but to all teachers of EL students. This book does a great job sharing strategies to strengthen your pedagogy and meet the learning needs of your EL population.