I wanted to call my store, Steve's Inclusion Classroom, but that was too long. "Big" works, too, because there's room for everyone in an inclusion classroom! I've been a teacher for social justice in inclusion middle and high schools for ten years. I've taught Yearbook, Drawing, Literacy, Digital Art, College Advisory, and English for 9th, 10th, and 11th Grades, always in inclusion settings and always through an anti-racist lens. My classes have always had an ethnically and academically diverse population of students, from students with special needs to students in GATE, and everything in between, all under one roof.
My own experience with elementary and high school informs my teaching style. Like many of my students, I have a low tolerance for boredom. I will go to the ends of the earth to find an exciting way to teach a rote topic (Greek and Latin roots, for example.) I totally understand if a kid doesn't want to do something because it's BORING. (I still give him or her a bad grade, though. That's the breaks, kid.) If one of my lessons or chosen topics is turning out flat or uninteresting, I'll go back to the drawing board and find a new way to teach it, or try a different topic.
Modern Woodsmen of America Public Speaking Award
Upon graduating from high school, I wasn't planning to go to college. Besides, my high school grades weren't good enough to get me into any college. However there had been one set of classes that I had excelled at - art, drawing, drafting and computers. So after a brief stint sweeping floors in a local machine shop, I got promoted to draftsman and spent the next year making pencil engineering drawings of all the various machined parts produced by the shop. Following that, I got a job at a local steel company making engineering drawings, only this time on a fancy new thing called a computer, using the latest CAD software. During that time I started going to the local community college. At some point around 1990, I really started to get the hang of this education thing. I made the community college honor roll and had a few of my writings published locally and won a speaking award for a speech I gave. After completing my AA I transferred to UC Riverside to get a degree in Philosophy. I later changed my degree to Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design. After working in marketing and visual communications in the Bay Area for six years, I decided that the corporate environment wasn't my cup of tea, so I went back to school to get a teaching credential. I have also taken post-credential courses in educational technology from UC San Diego and the University of San Diego.
At the request of a colleague who teaches fifth grade, I started making Common Core posters about three years ago. The posters were a hit with her and her colleagues. Teachers from other grades asked me to make posters for them, too. I was happy to oblige. Fast forward to today: I have made illustrated posters for kindergarten through eighth grades - which works out to about 720 individual posters, each with an illustration. Thank you to all the teachers who encouraged me along the way!
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