I adore teaching! I love my kids, and I love to read and share literature
with them! Unfortunately, because of some physical disabilities, I had to leave the traditional classroom setting seven years ago, and it broke my heart. Now, I am stronger and eager to make a difference in children's lives. As far as I'm concerned, one of the qualities of a good teacher is that she establishes a rapport with her students and builds trust so that when it is time to attack the academic aspects of tutoring, my students do not question 'why' we are doing something. They know that if I think it is valuable, then it is.
I taught 8th and 9th graders for almost 14 years, and by far the biggest thing I miss are my kids. I love Facebook because I am able to keep up with almost 300 of them directly and several others indirectly. One of Miller's Laws is that, "When you're mine, you're mine forever!", so I have 'kids' who are in their early 30s with children of their own who still write and/or call if they need to do so.
During my teaching career, I served on the English
Curriculum Team and helped write the English curriculum for my district, 6-12 grade. When the 250+ page document was finished, the woman in charge told our group that someone needed to do a final, grammatical proof read of the entire document. Several colleagues shouted, "Miller!", and I welcomed the chance to do the project, because I am an excellent grammarian, and if my name is on something, I want it to be perfect.
In my classroom I worked with students of all levels, from some students who were in Special Services to other students who were in advanced language
arts. In all reality, I approached every student with the same amount of respect and kindness, but I attempted to tailor-make my communications with each student as individual as they were. For my classroom, I was awarded nine Foundation Award Grants from the district, I built a classroom library for students to have access to novels for reading
for pleasure, and I covered every wall with inspirational and informative posters and signs. Just inside my classroom door was a mailbox where students could write me a note (to tell me about a problem, ask a question or just vent about a friend), and my kids knew that I would get that message and find time during my planning period to track them down to make sure they were OK.
Outside of my classroom, I was one of the sponsors of Jayreaders, a book club for students. We also worked at obtaining hundreds of YA books for teachers to check out and have in their rooms once the school implemented SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). I also was one of the founding members of The Breakfast Club, an organization
that gathered kids from different social cliques to brainstorm and find ways to break down the barriers between different social groups, promote diversity and stop bullying in our school. I also was on the Technology Committee, in Who's Who Among America's Teachers for six years, on the Grammar
Subcommittee/Curriculum team, and I was the Renaissance November 2005 Teacher of the Month.
During several summers I tutored kiddos in a variety of subjects. One mother wanted her 8th grade son to improve on his writing
skills before going into 9th grade. Another semester and summer, I worked with a 4th grader in reading who was a few grade levels behind, and by the time he hit the beginning of 5th grade
, he was at the appropriate reading level. What I know about tutoring is this: First, you must build a level of trust with your kids and get to know them so that you can tailor-make a 'curriculum' for them. Secondly, you must have patience, patience, patience!! You have to have patience to figure out where that child is 'blocked' and figure out creative ways to solve the problem. You have to have patience to work at their speed, which is extremely important and a gift of tutoring, because in the classroom setting, sometimes kids who need more time do not receive it. Ultimately, you MUST show any child whom you tutor that you care about them, not just their skills, lack of skills, or what you are going to report to their parents. Let them know that they are important and together as a team, you will be successful in reaching your goals.