Awards & Recognition
- National Board Certified English Teacher
- 2016 CATE Award for Teacher of Excellence
After having an uplifting experience in my afternoon writing group, I wanted my students to experience the power of sharing their writing with a regular group of supportive writers; now, this has become an important part of my English classes. We read like writers, and write like readers. My classroom is constantly in flux, as the many good ideas and practices of my fellow Teacher Consultants filter into my practice after an Advanced Institute, a Leadership Institute reunion, a Saturday Seminar, or just an informal chat with a TC friend at our favorite coffee house.
For the last two and a half years, I’ve met with a small group of TCs to share our writing. Having this audience has helped me complete writing, and encouraged me that I have important things to say. Now, I see myself as not just a teacher of writing, but as a writer as well.
Becoming a Teacher Consultant opened up experiences to me that have helped me grow as a teacher. Before participating in the Writing Project, I would have never seen myself as a presenter at CATE or a CWP conference. The coaching that I received from our co-directors helped me develop my presentation skills, and gave me the courage to present at conferences. I’ve also become quite the convention junkie. For the past two years, I’ve attended the annual National Council of Teachers of English Convention, and last year I also attended the National Writing Project’s Annual Meeting. Due to these experiences, I’ve met many of my teaching heroes, broadened my professional network, and returned to my classroom inspired.
Choice ignites passion. Students need to be able to write about things they care about as much as possible. Also, writing is social process. Almost everyone writes better with a clearly defined audience, and sharing writing with a small regular writing group has helped my students see themselves as writers.
Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them dramatically impacted my writing instruction. It shifted the way that I saw my role in the classroom. Kittle makes the case that a writing teacher needs to be the writer in residence in the classroom, writing with his or her students and sharing the process with them. Kittle’s book showed me how to do this, and now I write with my students and share my process--the struggles and the uncertainty--with them regularly. Peter Elbow’s Writing Without Teachers also helped me teach writing process to students, moving away from formula to strategies that help students deal with the inevitable problems the pop us as we write.