For five years, I taught high school English within the School District of Philadelphia. I loved it. I taught my students the importance of reading and writing. I taught them how to become a thinker, an arguer, and an active citizen within Philadelphia. Through literature, we are able to find ourselves and reassess our values and beliefs, but if we do not go out into the community and put into practice our ideals and thoughts than we do not truly understand the importance of literature.
My first two years at West Philadelphia High School Auto Academy were exceptional. I taught English and participated in a nationally renowned after school program, The West Philly Hybrid X Team. Even though I am not a science or automotive teacher, I still found a way to join the team. I can help my students with their writing and speaking in any setting. I wanted to create a safe and respectful learning environment for my students, but also extend that environment into after school programs that engage students in the community.
I continued this effort at Stephen A. Douglas High School. For three years, I was Senior Sponsor. One of my favorite parts of being Senior Sponsor is implementing the Senior Project. The graduating class goes out into the community, serves, and then reports back to their peers and the school about what they saw and learned. The students are engaged, showed confidence in their abilities, and became passionate about a social problem occurring in Philadelphia and offer solutions.
I see my classroom as an extension of the community. I want my students to discuss literary works and connect those works with current economic and social matters found in the community. I want my students to know and understand social issues and try to find solutions to problems within the classroom.
In June 2013, my school closed I am going to miss Stephen A. Douglas tremendously. Yet, I see this as a turning point in my life as a teacher and a professional within the classroom. I am a strong English teacher and community leader. I understand the importance of building a community within the school and extending that knowledge to community members and businesses. Like many of my peers in teaching, I want a high-performing and dynamic school that values tradition and excellence.
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