As a teacher of English and writing over a span of forty-three years in New York and Minnesota, I taught students in ninth through twelfth grades, in both public and private schools, including 38 years at one of the leading private college preparatory school in the U.S. Watching students learn and grow provided more pleasure than I had ever imagined possible. In the midst of all of this, however, there was a sense of frustration with the textbooks and materials available for teaching expository writing. In all of those years I never found a textbook that taught expository writing in a clear, sequential, and easy-to-understand manner. It was out of this frustration that I was compelled to develop my own expository writing program called Do It Write.
In many respects, teaching is selling. That’s because the foremost questions in the minds of the students are, “Why should we learn expository writing skills?” and “What good are they?” Those are good and valid questions. As their teacher, I always felt it was my challenge to answer those questions every day. It wasn’t enough for me to be just a “presenter.” I had to “sell” my students on why it was important and valuable to learn whatever lesson we were working on that day. My teaching style combines lecture with use of the Socratic teaching method. The effective use of these combined methods not only provides students with the vital facts and information that are necessary, but it also teaches them to question, problem-solve, and think for themselves. I also pay close attention to multiple learning styles and seek to blend verbal/audio content, text, graphics, and diagramming as often as possible.
• Thomas E. Irvine Chair in Humanities, English Department, St. Paul Academy and Summit School • Author of three published books (several printings) • Six-year member of writing staff for magazine with national distribution
After completing grades K-eight at a parochial grade school, I attended a public high school. I received my undergraduate degree in English from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. I began studying in a graduate program in education and then relocated for my first teaching assignment. My teaching assignment included five sections of senior English, so I was off and running from that first day in the classroom!
• Served as a consultant and advisor to beginning authors on writing their books and getting them published. • Writing instructor at community college level • Course design and curriculum development • Division One college hockey coaching, including NCAA National Championship, and several Big Ten and WCHA Championships (University of Minnesota) • High school hockey coaching, including Independent State Championship • Division One college hockey captain • High school Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee