I've been teaching at my current public high school for twelve years, and have a total of 16 years experience. Most of my experience is teaching high school English and journalism classes; however, for several years I taught an art history class. I teach all levels--from honors students to special education students; therefore, I'm constantly modifying my assignments to fit my students' needs.
I will never stop trying to foster creativity and critical thinking in my classroom no matter how many practice standardized tests I must give. In my opinion, it is just as (if not more) important to graduate students who can think independently and creatively as it is to graduate students who can score well on a two-day test in three subject areas.
My students' achievements are more meaningful than the honors bestowed upon me. Their achievements are my true rewards.
I graduated from St. Ambrose University in 1994, double-majoring in English and Mass Communications & Journalism. After teaching in a small school in a special education classroom, I decided to go back to school to earn my teaching endorsement. My roles in education have included being a librarian, middle school English & reading, middle school special ed., and for the past twelve years as a high school English and journalism teacher with about six years of art history thrown in there, as well.
Learning can not be assessed by a single test; it is determined by an individual's ability to think critically, creatively, and solve problems. Teaching to the test will produce great test-takers. Which is fine, if that's all they'll do the rest of their lives. Teach them how to question, force them to look at things differently, and foster their creativity; these are the skills we should be practicing to produce great thinkers.