I have been teaching for the last 20 years. My career began teaching 8th grade in a building where I was the only reading and language arts teacher. In a world before teacher websites, Google, and even the internet, it was a sink or swim situation for me and thankfully, I learned to swim very quickly. By my 5th year of teaching, I moved to the district from which I had graduated high school and I have been there ever since. My high school teaching experience has mostly been focused on freshmen, freshmen honors, and junior American literature, so that's a great deal of what you will see in my lessons. Along the way I have also taught a few college classes, mostly education majors needing a reading across the content area class. I really enjoyed doing that and in the future, when my three busy children have grown, I'd like to get back to that kind of teaching. My school district utilizes the Understanding by Design model for lesson planning. If you are unfamiliar with that model, it essentially calls for teachers to consider the ending goals (semester objectives, unit objectives, etc.) when planning a lesson. I love this method because my lessons are easy to rationalize to the kids as I can show them how the homework assignment, quiz, in-class activity, etc. relates to a skill they need to improve or strengthen for the unit test or the semester exam. Our district has already begun the task of converting our semester objectives over to Common Core language so you will see that appear quite a bit in my lessons. If your district is unitizing different Common Core Skills, or different skills in general, it's really easy to change that part of my lessons to suit your needs.
Early in my teaching career, I used to coach cheerleading and poms and I'd say that the best way to describe my teaching style is to compare it to that of how a coach would handle his/her team. I provide plenty of drills (skills enrichment opportunities) for my students to strengthen their weaknesses and learn where their strengths lie. I offer inner-quad scrimmages (quizzes, timed writings, games) which are smaller opportunities for my students to practice their skills before the true test, the final game (unit assessment). Like a coach, I set guidelines I know are for the benefit for my "team." My students are older and therefore I expect them to be responsible enough to bring their materials to class, know the deadlines for assignments, advocate for themselves to get help when they need be (much like and athlete will head to the gym to strength train), access the aids I have put into place to assist their learning (web page, calendars, Twitter reminders) and participate in the process. My team also extends to the parents as well and I rely on them to help support their student and me. Finally, although I am over 40, I am young at heart and I like to try to bring a bit of the here and now into my lessons to help make the "dead male writers" and grammar a bit more relevant and, as the kids would say, SICK! : )
I have been honored several times over by athletes who have chosen to have me attend honor night or wear their jersey to school on the day of a game as a way for seniors to honor their teacher. In addition, in 2010, I was part of a team of teachers who were awarded the Destination Excellence award for our work to bring more wellness knowledge to our district personnel. Most importantly, the best honors have come to me from the many students over the years who have written a little note of gratitude, told me thank-you in person, or have just smiled and said, "have a great weekend." I have recently ventured into the world of Twitter where I happily Tweet homework or test reminders. My students love it so much they have taken to call themselves #SchillerNation. How may teachers do you know that have an entire nation named after them? ; )
I did my undergraduate work at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. After graduating from there I began taking classes on an as needed basis to help improve my teaching. Eventually I found a program certified through Rockford College that offered a degree in the Art of Teaching. Since receiving my Masters in 2002 (8 days before the birth of my son), I have continued to seek out classes that utilize the most up-to-date research available to help me to improve my teaching abilities.
I am married to my best friend, Kyle and together we have 3 beautiful children. Our oldest, Morgan, is an almost 13 year-old (YIKES) who has a genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome. We also have two sons, Cameron who 11 and Drew, who is 7. Like many families with young kids, we are kept very busy with soccer, basketball, cheerleading, baseball, and many other kid-focused activities. It's a busy life but it sure is fun and I know it won't last so I'm going to enjoy every moment I can.