About Ms. Smith

Teaching English, for me, is something that starts with my own relationship to language and literature. M
y life is, and has always been, shaped by the worlds books create. Reading has been a way for me to open my eyes and my mind, to discover the things I love, and the things I disagreed with. Beyond the power of the reading experience, the tools I gained from studying English, particularly those of writing and critical thinking, gave me the power to express my own ideas and the confidence to voice them. I hope that I will be able to share my enthusiasm about my subject with my students, and help them experience some of the joy I get from reading. However, I do not want to (nor do I think it is possible), to force my students to conform to my own tastes and ways of thinking. Instead, I hope that by helping students develop strong reading skills, I will help them become more perceptive thinkers. As Paolo Freire pointed out, “reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world.” In short, the written word represents the world we live in, and knowing one becomes a way to know the other. By reading, and drawing understanding from what they read, students can better understand themselves, and the struggles and pleasures that that the world holds for them. Reading should be a way for students to know themselves better, and to think about who they are and what they want to be. Further, I want my students to develop mastery of the written conventions of English. This mastery goes beyond knowledge of the rules of grammar and syntax, and familiarity with different styles and forms. Studying English should be a way for students to learn to communicate clearly and express ideas powerfully. It should also be a means for students to learn to think in more nuanced ways, so that they are then able to look at the world they live in with greater attention and understanding. It demands that students stretch their imaginations to visualize lives and places different from their own. If students study English with the goal of greater understanding and imagination, it will contribute to their development as open-minded, perceptive adults.
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