I have always loved to learn. As a college teacher, sharing my joy in books, writing, art, and the ways language and images draw us into our human story, has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Our English language is rich in words, imagery and expressiveness. I am passionately dedicated to helping my students discover its richness and power for themselves. I teach Medieval Studies, Classical Greek Antiquity, and Art History to Return-to-College students at Concordia Univ... [more]
Vocabulary is one of the most fun subjects to teach! It lends itself to word games, pictures, puns, stories, poetry writing, crossword puzzles, Bananagrams and Scrabble, and even three-dimensional building, with words as building blocks. Our English language is so rich in words that we have many choices for expressing ourselves. Some words are very objective, while others offer nuances of meaning. In teaching vocabulary, I stress the possibilities each word contains, as well as the ways it can be joined with other words most meaningfully.
English grammar does not have to be tedious and boring! Yes, it does require a lot of work and practice, but it still does not have to be something a student dreads. I use some worksheets, but more often, reading, story writing, picture making, flash cards, word maps, even three-dimensional building with words and phrases, to help my students. Grammar is a subject I tailor to an individual student's needs and learning style. Wherever they are struggling is the right place to start, and however they learn best is the right way to approach it.
I speak French fluently. My family moved to Paris when I was seven, where we stayed until I was nineteen. Both from my French schools, and from living and traveling in France, I absorbed history, culture, and geography, as well as the ordinary, everyday world of a French child. Later on, I home-schooled my younger son in French. He is completely fluent now, and uses French constantly in his work. I have also taught French to elementary and middle-school students, in after-school enrichment programs.
My official Latin career began when I was fourteen, but it had actually started much earlier. My father was a professor of ancient history, and he quoted Latin authors all the time in his ordinary conversations with us. He did not think he was doing anything weird. I guess I just acquired a lot of my Latin by osmosis. We children simply assumed we had to take Latin at school. It wasn't even a question. Fortunately, I fell in love with it, and followed my Latin studies through college and graduate school. I use it now when I'm teaching my courses in Classical Antiquity and Medieval Studies at Concordia College. Even more importantly, it enriches my understanding of English. Harry Potter fans, look out! J. K. Rowling uses Latin all over the place in her books. Most of the spells are based upon Latin words!
There is nothing I like better than to share books and the joy of reading with my students. Books take you into other worlds, onto unexpected journeys, into funny places and sad ones. They help you come to know who you are in this world, and how you fit in to it all. When I teach reading, I always start from the point of view of a story. We all have stories, and books tell stories of people's hopes and experiences. When we read other people's stories, we see that we too have our own. Once we engage with the story, then I teach a student how to follow the particular words that tell it. Each writer has a special writing voice, just as we each have a special speaking voice. Reading comprehension is more than listing the facts of a story. It is learning to understand the writer's voice as well. Only when the writer's voice is put together with the facts, do the facts come alive.
I have taught writing to young people and to college students and adults for years. Teaching writing is one of my favorite things to do. Young people often have trouble setting their ideas down in writing. I love helping them discover the magic of written words to express themselves. Older students get to college or into their careers, and suddenly realize they don't know how to write. It's very scary for them to be faced with courses or projects where correct, clear writing is expected. Helping students make sense of language and find their own writing voices is wonderful! While I stress correct grammar and writing techniques, what I have found students need the most help with is defining what they really want to say. I try to train them to follow their own thoughts and write them down clearly. PS. ALL writing students need to have access to a good dictionary!
I am an English major, copy editor and professional writer. I also teach various college level Humanities courses. All of my classes require the students to do a lot of writing. They often have a hard time with it, so I work with their writing skills too. I love to teach, I love to read and learn, and I love words. If I can help students come to value the beauty and power of words, and learn to use them skillfully to express themselves, then I feel a great deal of gratitude.
I was an English and American literature major at Agnes Scott College, and did my graduate work at the University of Toronto in medieval English, French and Latin literature. More important than any degrees, though, has been my lifelong love of reading and books. Helping my students explore the beauty, wisdom and truth in literature, the ways it is crafted, and its power to convey our human experience down through the ages, is at the heart of my teaching philosophy. Studying literature is like a journey into an unknown country, where you have to learn how to find your way. I love to help my students discover the signposts so they don't get lost!
Grading student essays is the best way to learn to be a proofreader! As a college teacher, I have helped students with their writing issues for years. It has taught me more than ever to be extremely careful with correct English usage, spelling and grammar. I am also a professional editor for other people's writing. I copy edit and proofread all kinds of writing, from scholarly books and articles, to photo essays with text, to fiction and memoirs. All of them require a very high standard of work. No matter what I am editing and proofreading, I want the finished work to be as well-expressed and accurate, and as true to the author's intention, as possible. My own academic and journal writing is important, too. I proofread and edit every word before I send it off. I want my words to resonate with readers, so that they can both feel and understand them. This is intense, meticulous work that I love.
I have been teaching art history at the college level for the last five years. In my classes, I always incorporate "hands-on" experience in the art techniques relevant to the art works or era we're studying. It has been wonderful to see students become more deeply aware of their own creativity as they explore not only the ideas behind art in a particular era, but also the methods artists have used. I'm a professional artist myself, so sharing my joy in art is a moving and satisfying experience.
I love the culture, art, literature, thought, myth and legend of classical antiquity. They have been a major part of my life since I was born. My father was a professor of ancient history, and he was a fantastic story-teller too. At the dinner table, he would tell us such marvelous stories from the past that I felt as if I had entered that world. I grew up to study classics myself. I began Latin in middle school, and went on to minor in Latin and classics in college. My graduate studies in medieval literature, art and culture were greatly enriched by my classical background. Currently, I teach Classical Antiquity at Concordia College. It is a wonderful course! We cover myths and legends, the Iliad and the Odyssey, art and architecture, the great Greek dramatists, and a good bit of Plato and Aristotle, all within their historical framework. It is an exciting journey through a marvelous and still very meaningful world.