1. Name the key responsibilities in your current role
Currently, I teach all seventh grade English classes. At Hutchison, this means diving into literature, connecting reading to writing, and learning how grammar and vocabulary ease in understanding literature and writing. I also get to work with the eighth grade–students I taught last year–as they write, prepare, and give their eighth grade speeches, a culminating event before they go on to high school. Additionally, I am the English department chair for the middle school.
2. Describe either your professional preparation, experience or achievements
I was fortunate to have a great experience in my licensure program (which even included a class on classroom management). I still had questions after student teaching, so I remained in school for my M.Ed where I was able to explore students’ literacy motivations–research behind how to create readers and keep them engaged in the process. Currently, I’m still in school pursuing my EdD in K-12 Leadership and Policy, hoping that in the future I’ll be able to make organizational changes so that school can be a better experience for everyone involved.
3. Describe the biggest challenge you’re currently facing in middle level education
One of the biggest challenges right now is knowing how to help and support students who come to school with high anxiety. Educators are seeing a range of students who are becoming more nervous of tests, afraid of failing, and scared of making mistakes. Because of this, I try to show students my past mistakes (including essays where I didn’t receive an A) and current mistakes, as well as how I frame and overcome them.
4. Share what you do for fun when not in school
When I’m not in the classroom, I enjoy reading books–typically young adult or adult non-fiction. I also enjoy spending time with friends around town–we all have busy schedules, and it’s nice to be able to spend quality time with friends and family.
5. Tell us why you are a member of AMLE
AMLE has such wonderful resources for those of us who spend all day with a unique age group of students; the Twitter feed alone is full of wonderful ideas and teachers from around the country. I know that I can use AMLE resources to make me a better teacher and help those around me who are looking for new ideas or current research. I’ve found that educators who choose to stay in the middle grades do it out of a deep commitment to these formative years–and I’ve found the publications reflect that love for students at this point in their lives.