With over seven and a half years of teaching English in a middle school classroom, I feel confident that I can help students improve their reading and writing skills. From my work in college as an English major, to my graduate degree work in the Teaching of English, to my pursuit of National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, I have always been devoted to the subject of English and to helping students develop a comfort and understanding for the subject I love.
Students are expected to use standard English grammar in their writing for school. Points are usually deducted for incorrect use of grammar. Yet, few English classes devote time to grammar instruction, and many students are mystified by the red circles and proofreading marks their teachers put on their drafts. I have always worked to make the rules (and exceptions to the rules) of English grammar very clear to my students. I use easy to follow lessons, clear examples, and lots of practice handouts on proofreading to help students feel comfortable and confident enough to tackle proofreading their own work for grammar.
As an English teacher, it is probably no surprise that I am a voracious reader of literature. While I have always enjoyed discussing the themes, conflicts, and figurative language authors use, I know this is not always an easy or enjoyable task for younger students. My work with middle school students has helped me devise a number of techniques for helping reluctant readers to embrace great works of literature and to feel more comfortable with authors' literary devices.
In addition to my experience as an English teacher, which involved proofreading all of my students' papers and projects, I have a great deal of proofreading experience from my time as an editor on my college's newspaper staff. I have used a variety of graphic organizers and other techniques to help students proofread their work before handing in final drafts. I also have great resources and handouts for practicing editing with students.
Students often have difficulties focusing on assigned reading. As a teacher, I worked with avid readers, reluctant readers, and struggling readers to help them better organize their thoughts and reactions to the works they read. I use pre-reading exercises to help students prepare for the reading task ahead of them, reading exercises to help students when they hit trouble areas in a text, and post-reading activities to help students make sense of what they just finished reading.
As a middle school teacher for over seven years, I have seen my fair share of exploding backpacks, overstuffed folders, and notebooks missing pages. I have also heard my fair share of complaints from students about not knowing what to study for or how to study. I always made my assignments and grading policies as transparent as possible by helping my students learn to focus on what to study for, how to study, and how to stay organized. My graphic organizers, outlines, study skills, and tips for organization will definitely help students have command of their study materials and feel confident on the day of the test.
Vocabulary study was always an important part of my English classroom. I review parts of speech with students; in order to successfully use a dictionary definition to help write a sentence with a new vocabulary word, a student must be comfortable with the different parts of speech. I also teach context clue strategies to help students define unfamiliar words that pop up on assigned reading and standardized tests. In addition, I have activities that will help students memorize and feel comfortable with new vocabulary words.
For over seven and a half years, I have been working with middle school students to improve their writing. In that time, I have amassed a large number of lessons, handouts, graphic organizers, and techniques to help students brainstorm, draft, revise, and edit fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. The writing work I did in my classroom was even chosen by university researchers to be included in a study of successful teacher practices.