Seton Hall University - BS in Education - English (English Education)
My name is Mrs. Debra E. and I love being a teacher because I think that educating children is one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Teaching is always challenging, changing, and exciting, but also extremely important and very rewarding. Helping to nurture a student's life-long love of learning while guiding them and equipping them with the necessary tools and skills while building their self esteem is the everyday challenge of teaching, and one which I wholeheartedly embrace. Making a difference in the life of just one child, encouraging that child to grow and learn and to see possibilities makes the challenge a dream worth pursuing.
I have been fortunate enough to teach grades K - 12th and currently, and for the past eight years, have been teaching a fifth grade class in Morris County. I have lived most of my life in NJ and reside with my husband in Hunterdon County. I am mom to three grown daughters and grandmother to one handsome thirteen year old boy. In my spare time, I enjoy playing games with my family, reading, and traveling around the country.
I think I can make a difference as a tutor. I know first hand how important understanding and properly utilizing the basic skills of math, reading, and writing are to student success in school and ultimately in life. I see every year, students whose skills are not on grade level and/or students who struggle with new content because they are unfamiliar or unsure of the basics and of how to proceed. I will be able to help students with understanding and coping with this situation helping them maintain grade level competencies and preparing them for the next grade level. It is important to keep students focused on where they are and where they are going, to insist they understand basics, foundations, and clearly are able to utilize their knowledge. In a fast paced world, students who stumble with the basics are often left behind. This does not have to be the case, and I believe that proper tutoring, adjusting to meet the needs of the child while considering the demands of the classroom can make a difference to a child. When a child feels confident in his/her knowledge, he/she is more likely to complete classwork and homework, applying that knowledge to move forward. when a child feels unsure he/she needs guidance and instruction to assure understanding and application.
I look forward to working with children who need nurturing and development of their basic skills, students who need the opportunity to clarify and question, and those students who will benefit from greater knowledge of studying and organizing so that they might take more control of their own learning. My name is Mrs. Debra E. and I love being a teacher because I think that educating children is one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Teaching is always challenging, changing, and exciting, but also extremely important and very rewarding. Helping to nurture a student's life-long love of learning while guiding them and equipping them
In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.
I have been teaching for more than twenty years. During that time, I have taught students from K- 12 grades. I have taught English, Reading, Language Arts Literacy, Spelling (Word Study), Literature, Mathematics, Computers - Keyboarding and Word Processing. I have totally loved working as a teacher and have been challenged to become the best teacher I can be, always keeping my students foremost I my planning and teaching. I hold a NJ Teacher's Permanent Certificate for English Education and for Elementary Education.
I have worked with parents, colleagues, administrators, and most importantly students. I have written curriculum in Mathematics, Keyboarding, Word Processing, and, most recently, Character Education. I have also written curriculum for G&T as well. I have written grants as well, helping to secure the Aleks Program for our school.
I have had student teachers, been the grade level chairperson, mentored new teachers, and presented at teacher in-service days. I have worked with many colleagues and parents as well as administrators successfully and have enjoyed support in all of these areas.
I have taught math in the classroom for the past fourteen years teaching advanced 5th grade math, advanced 4th grade math, basic skills fifth grade math, and basic skills high school math. I have used basic skills texts as well as the Everyday Math, Chicago math Project materials, the online Xtra Math, and online Aleks Math program, also the Connected Math Program. I have also used Math World for basic skills third grade classes after school.
I have taught English Grammar for many years, instructing fifth grade for the past eight years, fourth graders, and students in 3-8th grades while teaching the Gifted and Talented program in my school.
In my role as 5th grade classroom teacher for the past eight years, I have taught handwriting to my class using several methods. Students struggle when learning penmanship because they are not always ready to make the transition and because oftentimes they are not developmentally ready either.
I think it very important to ready students into writing script. They need time to develop and time to assimilate how they sit, position their fingers, and their paper. This is developmental and students need to understand that... all students cannot reach the same goal at the same time because they develop differently. Teaching penmanship takes time and so does the learning of handwriting. I often start with students discussing and checking out their printing first and seeing how they might improve. Then I work with students to discover how they might connect letters to make it easier and faster to write. This is the difficult step for many. But, perseverance and hard work helps students develop their own style. It is always important to offer many models so students might choose what works best for them.
Usually starting in third grade, students seem to develop a level of competency by the end of fifth grade. This level will further be developed as they grow. It is complicated by the fact that many students use only computers to word process their work and are not used to using scrip to communicate. Teachers need to make sure the students are given time to develop this talent.
As part of my teaching assignments over the years, I have taught literature to 5th - 8th grade students as classroom teacher and Gifted and Talented teacher.
Discussing classics as well as contemporary literature gives students a true sense of how novels are put together, opens their minds to the many and varied themes contained within the pages of these novels, and teaches them the way in which fiction is put together. Grasping the setting, characterization, plot, and theme helps students become both better readers and writers. Students find themselves engrossed in adventure, history, and fantasy as they read, and listen to, some of the worlds most cherished literature. As students read and are exposed to literature on a regular basis, the mystery of these masterpieces seems to be lessened and students find themselves actually being equipped and able to read through and enjoy a novel on their own.
After reading and discussing a novella to my class, I once had a student remark they never knew a book could be so exciting! I think that is what teachers are called to do... make literature come alive for kids so they are more apt to choose to read. I have been able to accomplish this with my students even though struggling learners need to be read to over and over again until they learn the elements of fiction and come to know that excitement awaits them. Teaching students to create a story map while reading helps to enable them to understand more clearly what is taking place in a novel. Teaching students the seven keys of comprehension also helps aid their comprehension and allows them to have greater ownership of their own reading.
One of the main goals of exposing students to good literature is to help to enable them to become a life long reader, looking forward to reading everything they can. Teaching literature and helping students discover the excitement of a novel is one of the true joys of teaching. Understanding literature also helps students writing and vocabulary grow develop, and expand.
Phonics is the very basis of learning to read. Students who struggle with decoding often have little knowledge of how sounds and letters fit together. I consider phonics and all it involves to be part of a strong literacy program. Teachers need to incorporate phonemic instruction when needed for the student to succeed and advance in his/her reading, spelling, writing, or just understanding of words.
Therefore, I feel I have been teaching phonics as part of an overall balanced literacy curriculum for many years.
I have been teaching reading for a more than twenty years. I have taught as a seventh grade teacher, fourth grade teacher, and fifth grade teacher. I have also taught reading while teaching the Gifted and Talented program (grades 3-8)which I taught for ten years.
I have taught using many different methods including the Workshop Model currently utilized in NJ schools.
I have also taught all levels of students including, special ed. inclusion and basic skills students.
I have high expectations for my students when teaching reading because it opens the most doors for them. Currently, the emphasis on nonfiction reading is one which I employ in my classroom while keeping kids reading novels as well, particularly historical fiction and traditional literature.
Spelling is woven into the Language Arts Literacy instruction taught during the language arts block. I have taught spelling as part of LAL for many years, working with students when they are in need of reinforcement and formally teaching on a regular basis. Spelling instruction is ongoing and varied depending on the needs of each individual student. Currently, I usually group my spelling students into three to four groups and teach word similarities differences, etc. as part of their word study instruction.
I think that study skills' instruction is often sadly missing in classrooms today. Students need to learn how to study and what it means to find the main idea, most important details, etc. When I teach social studies and/or Language Arts Literacy, and Mathematics, I always teach skills which will help the student achieve.
Some examples of this include, but are not limited to, the following. When teaching a novel, short story, current event, social studies chapter, nonfiction reading piece, I oftentimes have students learn how to make an outline and outline the chapter, page, story, etc. I always teach the nonfiction features of s piece and have students learn to identify main idea and details through this method. When teaching a novel, students are always expected, after having been taught, to identify the main features of a novel: setting, plot, character(ization), and theme. In Math, before giving a test, I review and have students take notes in outline form for study. This is always the method I utilize and as the year progresses, students are become more and more assured of how and what they need to know. I have found all of these methods to be successful in teaching and preparing students for the next grade. These expectations help students learn how to study and how to be responsible for their work.
I also have ongoing assignments due each Friday which are designed to have students read greater amounts of nonfiction and learn time management in the process. Each Friday, students are to submit a current event about which they must offer three paragraphs. The first paragraph is to summarize the text, second to offer a connection, and third paragraph is to give their opinion. Students are to complete this work whenever convenient throughout the week, thus time management. Every Friday, students in my class are also responsible for submitting a reading log with four entries summarizing what they have read for 20 minutes. This can also be done any time throughout the week.
These are some of the strategies I use each year to help students learn to better manage their time and teach them how to study and be responsible for material in class. Through the years, I have had multitudes of students, and parents, return to tell me how successful they have been - partly due to the standard I set and taught.
Writing is an important, integral part of Balanced Literacy. It is developmental in nature and takes years to prefect. I have been teaching writing for more than twenty years as it is a part of every class at every level.
While teaching writing, teachers need to be consistent and exact as to the use of the writing process so the student becomes adept at producing quality work. Teachers must start with strong sentence construction and lead their students toward combining sentences to create strong paragraphs. Many students struggle with this process as it is sometimes tedious and time consuming. However, when the teacher preservers, students gain the courage to put their thought, ideal, and feelings on paper and really begin to develop into proficient writers.
It is a difficult process to perfect, but one which students need guidance, nurturing, and care to develop and accomplish.