Congratulations to Becky Schwartz for being CRWP’s March Feature Spotlight! Please take a moment and read about Becky below.
I’ve been with CRWP since 2015 (6 years now) and I think probably the greatest experience I had was when I realized that none of the work that was done in our organization was a competition. It wasn’t about who is doing what better, whose been teaching longer, or who has a better position. It is about passionate people coming together and sharing what they do, but also wanting to learn from others to keep striving towards excellence for the students in their classroom.
I can’t pick just one thing that is my favorite part about teaching writing. Its probably a tie between creating interesting and engaging low stakes writing activities and circumstances that help push my students towards the bigger writing tasks and success and getting to understand who my students are as writers. I love having those writing conferences were you can ask students about the moves and choices they make in their own writing and they explain what is going on in their brain. It blows me away.
The Quick Reference Guide I wrote with other teacher consultants in CRWP is the most recent thing I’ve published. It means a lot to me because I really enjoyed the creative working process the group of us went through in writing this and its a culmination of a lot of the aspects about teaching writing that I believe teachers can use.
One of the books that I’ve read in the last few years that always sticks out in my mind is Beartown by Fredrik Backman. One of the things I love about reading are the characters that captivate and draw me in. Every one of the characters in this book drew me in for many reasons. The dueling perspectives the author puts back to back in the text forced me to see the issues in totally new perspectives, sometimes within pages of each other. Also, I really really dislike most sports and this book is based around hockey and it managed to grab my attention in a way no other book that is based around sports has. I read those types of books so I can talk to the teenage boys in my classroom, and because I enjoy them. I felt like I couldn’t come up for air until I finished this book.
Time and experience are two words I would give to new teachers. This is a maddening expression my mentor teacher used to tell me when I often asked questions. I used to be really frustrated in my first two years of teaching and I didn’t have the exact right answer, the right technique, or the right idea for the current challenge I was facing. I didn’t realize there is never going to be the perfect answer ever and that part of the reason master educators are educators because they have just had time to master their crafts and experience. Trust the process, you’ll get there. I still kind of dislike admitting how right she was about that piece of advice.
Becky has been a teacher for 7 years and currently teaches at Springport High School in Springport Public Schools in Michigan. You can follow Becky on Twitter: @RSchwartz702 .