I have been teaching for thirteen years. I taught middle school language arts for three years and then moved up to high school, where I have been the last ten. Twelve of the thirteen years I have taught, I have been teaching gifted education (it has been delivered through the language arts program in my district). I teach mostly world literature, vocabulary (emphasis on etymology), and grammar. I designed and delivered a grammar course for juniors and seniors, and I have also taught creative writing for three years. In addition, I taught at the Missouri Scholars Academy for two summers (a prestigious program for gifted juniors from across the state of Missouri); my classes offered were on monsters, freaks, and mutants as well as on creating and producing murder mystery dinner theaters. At present, I am also the gifted program coordinator at my high school.
It is hard to describe my style! I am quite organized and strict when it comes to grammar instruction, as I believe the best way to teach it is through consistent, old-school-style instruction. My students learn best this way. In contrast to the structure of teaching grammar, I am quite artistic and lively with my literature instruction. I love organized units but grew quite frustrated with the plot-based study and reading guides provided with most purchased literature units; I therefore have worked hard to create my own in-depth reading guides that challenge students to analyze what they read as well as build their literary repertoire. I also encourage lots of projects: I like for students to build, create, explore, and perform.
I have received seven teacher appreciation awards from students attending the Missouri Scholars Academy (students select a teacher who has most inspired them and invite them to attend a banquet and ceremony).
I received my undergrad from the University of Missouri in Saint Louis. My original degree was a BS in Middle School Language Arts (grades 5-9). I then received gifted certification and high school language arts certification (grades 9-12). Following all these certifications, I obtained my Masters in Gifted Education from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
I have three kids, a husband, a cat, and a host of taxidermied critters (including a cane toad, a bat, a fiddler crab, and lots and lots of bugs). In my limited spare time, I take on numerous projects. I have completed fourteen young adult novels and am working on more (though the writing has slowed as I started to have kids . . .). I also write music, play a few instruments, and attempt to read the classics. I consider myself quite the grammar connoisseur and love to study word origins, as well. I like weird, macabre stuff (Poe, Edward Gorey, The Inferno, ghost stories). Overall, I am quite happy with life! I greatly enjoy teaching.