Awards & Recognition
- Chabot Las Positas Community College District Board Recognition for Leadership of the Change It Now! Learning Community (CIN!)
- BAWP Teacher Consultant
Participating in the Bay Area Writing Project profoundly changed me as a teacher. Before the Leadership Institute I struggled with incorporating writing practices in my classroom. I am very much in love with any content related to social justice so much of my time as an instructor was spent discussing our text. We would go directly from discussing a text to writing an academic essay. This process lacked joy, connection, and an honoring of student voice. BAWP helped me remember my own identity as a writer and how much I love writing. It gave me permission to bring my love of writing to the classroom. BAWP also gave me language to discuss the writing process with my students. “Golden lines,” “Author’s Chair,” and structures like writing workshop have all become routine practices in my classroom because of BAWP. I continue to rely on BAWP for professional learning because of its good thinking about teaching writing and its respect for teachers.
One of the exciting aspects of BAWP is the push for teachers to write. I loved getting to write in the Leadership Institute. BAWP reignited my passion for writing. For example, while I am on sabbatical this spring, I plan to produce a few pieces on teaching social justice in the classroom. I hope to submit these pieces to various journals and other writing outlets. BAWP gave me the courage to take on this project. BAWP has also helped me get back to writing as a way to process my experience. I have returned to daily journaling and writing poetry, as well as a little blogging!
BAWP’s respect and support for teachers as leaders has been inspiring. The Leadership Institute helped me take myself seriously and see myself as an educator who has much to offer. As a result of my experience, I have presented my teaching practice on helping students to be allies to each other at Chabot’s professional development day and at the statewide Umoja conference I presented on teaching social justice in the English classroom. Without the encouragement and support from BAWP, I would not have been able to share my teaching practice with my colleagues and fellow educators.
As an instructor I believe it is essential to create an environment where students develop their identities as writers. By giving students challenging and relevant reading material so they have interesting ideas to engage with and models of powerful writing, they begin to notice what they like as readers. These texts then become “mentors” for them as they develop their own writing through low and high stakes writing assignments. Students are then able to believe their voice has weight. It is also crucial to create a supportive community of writers by teaching students how to offer warm, thoughtful, and evocative feedback. These elements are vital to creating a strong writing practice.
I love using Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. The writing prompts she offers are fun and inventive. I also appreciate the advice she gives to writers, particularly around silencing the editor. I find Writing the Bones to be a book I go to when I’m getting started on a writing project for myself and a solid resource when looking for writing prompts to try with students.