Take a minute to introduce yourself. Where are you teaching? How long? What classes do you have? How do you like it?

Hi everyone! My name is Lisa Bell, but my name was Lisa Stalbaum when I attended Purdue. I graduated in December 2007, and got my first teaching job this August. I teach 2 freshmen Reading classes, 2 sophomore Reading classes, and 1 freshman English class at Larkin High School in Elgin, IL. All of my students are low level, and after their recent MAP testing, I found out how low they actually are. Some of them are reading at a 2nd grade level, so you can imagine what a challenging first year this has been so far. The school's make-up is about 55% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and about 25% Caucasian. My students are primarily Hispanic, and are in low level classes because they are currently ELL, or have been previously. The school is going through Restructuring because it has not been making AYP, so there are lots of committees and meetings to attend revolving around this topic. All I can say about Restructuring is hope that you never have to go through it! I am currently taking part in my district's mentoring program, which has been giving me lots to think about. I am looking forward to the discussions we will be having here!

Hey everybody. My name is Matt Brown. I'm a 2007 graduate from Purdue and am a quarter of the year through my second year at Manning High School in Manning, South Carolina. Last year I taught 9th grade freshmen academy which consisted of 3 one hour class periods in the morning and one 10th grade 90 minute class. That was as close to a nightmare for a first year teacher as anyone could have ever imagined. This year however I moved out of the freshmen academy and am teaching 2 10th grade English classes and am also the yearbook adviser. The school's make up is about 70-75% African-American 15-20% Caucasian and the rest made up of Hispanic and Asian students. Along with being the yearbook adviser, I am also an assistant coach for men's varsity basketball (which is always a point of interest in that I never even played basketball when I was in high school…. but that's not too much of a concern for the coaching staff) I have also been approached by the students with being a powder puff coach and the adviser of the Gay Straight Alliance that one student was wanting to put to life at Manning (which struck me in a funny way)
Needless to say it has been an interesting year so far, but I have noticed that there has been a HUGE change in my comfort in and out of the classroom. I have been able to be much more assertive from the beginning of the year. Though its funny to know that at faculty meetings by my closer teacher friends I've been dubbed the cynical one… interesting……

I've seen my fair share of problems and complications in the school and the way things are done but…… I'm still going!

Hey there! My name is Lydia Ryan and I am a first year teacher in Chicago Public Schools through the Teach for America program. I graduated from Purdue in May 2008 and I currently teach 9th grade English, as well as contemporary literature, at Steinmetz High School on the northwest side of the city. The beginning of my school year has been ever-changing. This is actually not my first school. I was a Temporarily Assigned Teacher at Dyett High School on Chicago's south side for 6 weeks. At this school I taught 10th grade American Literature. It was very hard to leave that school; the facility was wonderful, the other staff members were caring and hard working, the administration was absolutely remarkable, and my kids were amazing. Dyett was 100% African American and Steinmetz is mixed with Hispanic, African American, and Polish, so it is quite different. Working in CPS has proven to be extremely interesting. I am not coaching or leading any extracurriculars at this time. Instead, I am getting comfortable with my IDS Kaplan scripted curriculum, a curriculum my school is required to use in attempts to bring up test scores. :-D

Hey everyone! My name is Justin Holmquest and I am in my first year of teaching. I graduated from Purdue in May '08 with a degree in Secondary English. I am currently teaching Freshman English and Speech at Washington Township High School in Valparaiso, IN. I am also currently coaching boy's varsity volleyball. So far, I love teaching. My kids are great and the faculty and my principal are awesome.

Hello all, I am Paul Dobrzynski. I graduated from Purdue in December of '07. I am currently at my first teaching job at Castle Jr High. I am very busy, like everyone else. Not only am I in my first year of teaching, but I have also been asked to be an assistant coach for the 8th grade team. I very much enjoy doing this, it can just be a bit overwhelming at times. It is then that I just take a deep breath, pause, and keep going. Look forward to meeting everyone.

Who's next?

Hola, I'm Hillary Van Dyke, and I'm at my second teaching job. The first was a temp contract at a high school where I also coached track, and now I've got a permanent position at Wea Ridge Middle School in Lafayette where I will also be the 7th grade girl's basketball coach and a track coach.

The school corp I am in has very few black students and almost no black teachers so it's interesting/exciting/ uncomfortable to be one of the few in the corp. I am the only black teacher at my middle school, but I think it's important to give a school that is primarily white a new perspective on what it means to be a black woman in America. I think it's good for the students (not going to lie, the adults too) to form their opinion about black women by meeting real ones not from watching BET.

I'm so glad to be at Wea. It's weird being this happy with a job. I feel like something bad is bound to happen because it's just too awesome!

Hello, I'm Martha Long and I teach at Lafayette Jefferson High School. This is my second year of teaching. I have freshmen and a senior literature class this semester. It's been a busy year, but I'm enjoying my students. So far, the second year of teaching has been easier than my first, but it is still really busy. I love it though! I coach the English Academic Team at Jeff. This is my first year coaching, so I'm not sure what will be involved, but I think it will be interesting.

Hi Everyone! This is Lauren Clinton, 2008 grad of Purdue. I moved to Dekalb County Illinois with my fiance and got my first teaching job as a teaching assistant at Dekalb High School. I work in a room called the "Assisted Studies Classroom" which is for 9th and 10th graders with IEP's to take as their study hall and have extra help. So I help teach everything! Who knew I would graduate in English but spend more time teaching 9th grade Earth Science?! It's not my ideal job, but I like it so far and it's a great learning experience in working with a large number of IEP's and collaborating with multiple teachers. Looking forward to a great school year!

Hello! This is Emily Pastore, May 2007 grad. I'm teaching English Conversation at an all girl's private high school in Taipei, Taiwan. My students are between the ages of 14 (jr high level) and 19 (seniors). I have a full schedule of 27 hours per week Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, which is a bit more than your average foreign English teacher. I am in my second year at Blessed Imelda's and can tell a difference- I feel that I have started the new year off on a much steadier foot. Specifically, I teach English conversation with some grammar to keep them on track. I also have a specialized senior class titled Current Events. It's great to see returning students this year! I am the only female foreign English teacher (there are four other male foreign English teachers) and I am on my game 24/7. If they see you in the city, be ready (and take note that my senior students are completely legal to drink or go clubbing). Like all teenagers, some days they just turn off their "English" brains. Walking down the open-air halls at school will without a doubt illicit screams of "EMILY!" from past and current students- even students that aren't in my class- so my rockstar lifestyle is a breeze. The culture differences are endlessly entertaining. The students here love talking to their teachers and I am happy chat!

Hi Everyone. I am Lizzy Scheidler and I am a May 2008 graduate. I am currently living in the Lakeview area of Chicago (very close to Wrigley) and am teaching on the southwest side of the city in a charter school. My charter organization is aimed at helping the traditionally under served Hispanic community. We currently have 10 schools in Chicago, (nine grammar schools and our very first high school) and 1 grammar school in New Orleans. I am really excited to be a part of such a great organization. Our school is brand new this year, so there is a lot going on! Not only are we moving into a new building and getting our students adjusted to our very high academic expectations, we are trying to develop school culture and norms as well! I am the RIS (Reading Intervention Specialist) at the Archer Heights North campus. I will be working with kids in grades K-8, which is a huge change from the high school atmosphere with which I am familiar. Although the changes are large, I am eager to begin this Monday!

Greetings from Greencastle High School! I'm Tracie DeMarr, an English teacher for the span of about 5 weeks. I graduated from Purdue in May '08. I'm teaching 9th grade English, 10th grade Accel English, yearbook, and newspaper. The faculty is super nice, and the students are… well students. Most are super nice and they are really fun, but there are some that are a pain in the butt! Yearbook and Newspaper are awesome! I love giving students the freedom to say what they think is important— and I've already seen what being a laid back teacher can mean with newspaper headlines and older teachers.

I can't wait to hear what topics we'll come up with to talk about!

Hi from central Indiana! This is Beth Gentry and I am teaching 6th grade English at Brownsburg's Middle School. I graduated from Purdue in December 2007. I took a maternity leave position at this school (the same school I student taught in also) and then it turned into a full year contract. I'm on the after school study club committee and our school operates in PLC's-Planned Learning Communities (meaning all 6th grade English teachers meet twice a week to help eachother plan the scope and sequence of the quarter). The staff is wonderful and the administration has high expectations for our school community. I am also coaching cheerleading at Zionsville High School. It has been great-really. Most people cringe when they think of dealing with cheerleaders, but the school is amazing and so are the girls and their families. Basically I'm loving all of it and am glad I can share my joys and struggles with other teachers!

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