Who we are

Right now (February 2014), we’ve just started our YA Lit course. As we gel into a community, we’ll add more here about individual members.

BR = course instructor, avid YA and MG lit fan, especially fantasy. Also a fantasy author. Things I wonder about: why doesn’t everyone love fantasy? Why doesn’t everyone love reading? Why do I reread certain books so many times?

JES = I don’t know if this post should go here or on the bottom. However, I do know that I have a deep respect and fascination for the English language, and more so, I can teach it. ūüôā The lesson I have learned as a developing English Instructor, is that, in a sense, I too am an English Language Learner. Since this MA program has graciously accepted me in its arms, I have been learning so much about the English language: how it originated, various influences upon it, its structure and growth, and so much more. Needless to say, though these discoveries have answered a lot of hows and whys, it has also deepened my desire to learn more about what makes and changes the¬†beat of the heart of our communication. So, while I work on sorting out such discoveries, I hope that I learn to communicate what I know to others so as to enlighten them and instruct them efficaciously.

An update: SD = A future English teacher one year closer to graduation. I’m still an avid reader, still editing English translations, but since I first wrote on this page, I have had the opportunity to work alongside inspiring teachers in various NYC schools. I have felt nervous, doubtful, unprepared, challenged, rewarded, elated and on the best days, successful. I built relationships, thought and thought and thought some more; I planned and enacted lessons and eventually, became comfortable at the front of a classroom. Unlike one year ago, today I am certain I am doing the right thing. My greatest hopes remain: when I finally become a teacher, I hope I can teach my students as much as they’ll teach me, and I hope some of the English language arts we explore will enable them to effect change and pursue their dreams.

PO = future English teacher, leader, believe I am in charged of the molding the next President. Things I wonder about: Why can’t we get more adolescents to read more? However, why is there still hope?

JA= I’m a¬† receptionist at a dermatologist office and planning on becoming an English teacher in the near future.¬† I love school and being in a classroom setting.

JMF=former ESL/YA Lit teacher, former lawyer, presently following my dreams getting an MFA in Creative Writing, possibly PhD in Literature. I hope to write (and publish, if I’m lucky) YA lit. Things I wonder about: What makes some YA books more engaging than others? What about any given story speaks to each individual reader, making them wish to continue turning pages–sometimes for giant series? Why do YA books speak to people of all ages?

PB=CUNY City College of New York MA candidate in Secondary Education / Future High School English Teacher. I am a published writer and write historical fiction in a cinematic style, poetry and short fiction as well. Reading is a great way to learn to write. Listening and thinking leads to good writing skills; an important part of the learning process. This means listening to the teacher, other students and what you are thinking about as a student learning new ideas and reassessing your own thoughts.

SD = An avid reader, especially of 20th- and 21st century lit, an editor of English translations, and a future English teacher. My dream is to create an environment in which young people use English Language Arts to effect change and pursue their dreams. I only hope that I can teach them as much as I know they’ll teach me. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to learning with and from you all!

YMK = A writer and producer for television, digital and social media passionate about education and literacy, especially English and Media. New student in CCNY Master of English Education program. Blog about film and television at http://thebrooklynmouth.com. Things I wonder about: Why isn’t everyone curious? How is it possible not to love words, language and stories. How do airplanes stay up in the air? My goal is to start a media and communications school for girls so they can conquer the world.

LD: I am an adult educator focusing on language and literacy as the doorway to endless opportunities. How do we educators unlock a person’s sense of potential? YA literature seems to focus on this in an intensely questioning way, which seems completely relevant to adults also searching to define their sense of selves.

JB = Former and future middle school ELA teacher.¬† I¬†respect the English language,¬† enjoy reading to and with adolescents, and encourage writing as a vehicle to¬†healing children’s souls.¬† I was¬†not a great lover of fantasy as a genre but these first few books are changing my mind.

PDC: Future English teacher and hopefully one day a principle or school owner in Haiti. During the summer I run my summer enrichment program in Haiti which I started in 2010 and work on a short story collection. Excited to have a class dedicated to reading, it can be so hard to read with school and work. Even more excited to get into the classroom and teach some amazing books to amazing students.

CK:¬† Current Adjunct Lecturer at CCNY and future High School English teacher.¬† I am an avid reader, so I’m very glad to be in a class dedicated to reading YA literature.¬† For the most part, I read, I guess A (for adult) literature, but I’m always open to new things.¬† It was enjoyable to read some fantasy stuff; I’d say I’m a fan (sci-fi, too, as a genre).¬† I’m interested in the potential use for all of these readings as part of future classes I might teach, but I’m also hoping to enjoy many of them for my own satisfaction.

KB: former English nerd, future English nerd with a degree to teach English. I read mostly whatever poetry and literature strikes my fancy, along with the occasional thriller (Dan Brown made me get into reading again sophomore year of high school, after a four year break spanning middle school and freshman year.) And in fantasy, Harry Potter, obviously. From a teaching perspective, I value teaching books students can relate to. I’m looking forward to discovering many of them in this class.

NC: Current budding Professional Dancer and future English Teacher. I generally read as much as I can get my hands on/my meager budget permits. Popular YA Lit is a big cornerstone for me as well as Adult Literature, and I occasionally grumble my way through the “classics” (Human Bondage, anyone?). Simply put, literature is an eye-opener that every student should learn to enjoy and appreciate. I also enjoy oranges from time to time.

JMV Updated- I’ve been working as a Special Education¬†teacher for the past 7 years. 90% of what I read is Young Adult, although I do throw in a little Middle Grade for fun. ¬†I love fantasy, sci-fi, speculative fiction, dystopian stories, steam punk, you name it, I’ll read it. I truly believe that any book worth reading is worth re-reading. Every time I read a book I am a different person, and I learn something new every time I re-enter the world of a book. I really enjoy being able to share the books I love with my students, and I love being able to learn about new books from my students as well. My one super-power is the ability to read freakishly fast, which comes in handy considering my love of literature.

MM РMy passion as an undergraduate was poetry. Spent some time in the private sector after college. And then I became a middle school teacher. My first year teaching ELA was rough. Okay, very rough.  But I discovered that I had a talent for project-based learning activities in Social Studies. Made the switch to Social Studies and taught that for a time. The honeymoon ended in 2012 when I came back to ELA. Since then my goal has been in selling the notion that getting better at reading and writing is an important and worthwhile endeavor. Business has been slow but steady.

RS: MFA Creative Writing Major and want to write the All American Novel.  From NC and want to teach literature to students so that they can dream endlessly.

JC: I am a future English educator and a writer in my spare time. I like reading books that talk about the common human experiences that individuals go through, such as joy, love, pain, and other universal emotions.  I also wonder why do adolescents have trouble identifying with the characters that they read in  books? Additionally, I also wonder why there isn’t much emphasis for students to have a stronger input on the type of novels they read in their class curriculums ?- JC

MS: Adjunct English professor who has not and never will get over her wanderlust. China is my next goal.  Trinidadian who came to the US of A via France. Lifelong learner and educator looking to find a niche in teaching in the Big Apple. Longing to make a difference in this world.

MAS: (2015 class) I’m a lover of books, whether they be long, short, YA, or filled with pictures of superheroes. As long as it is a good book, I don’t care what genre it is. I love the idea that books can evoke different emotions depending on when you read them in life. A good book can help a student understand that they aren’t alone, that someone has had the same confusing thoughts that they are having now. Books can sometimes mentor and help a student through a tough time and maybe, just maybe teach a little self-reliance. As for me, I’m a thirty-something southern transplant who found out that I wanted to teach English a little later on in life then I would have liked, but so far the ride has been pretty fun.

DL: I am obsessed with literature. I believe that there is always a book that can change someones outlook or life in general. I am an avid reader. While I love to read different genres, I can’t say that I am an absolute fan of all of them . While I have been more of an avid reader in the past, I am still trying to read as much as I can aside from the school work that I get. I am a 22 year old mother who has a love for children and literature as well as writing. I look forward to expanding my limited knowledge of young adult literature and exploring its effects on our current students. I want to give back to my future students what my teachers have given to me, which is much compassion, attention, and consideration.

JA: Hello my fellow bloggers and the worldwide web, I’ll like to give an update of where I am today. I posted a brief note about myself about a year ago and since then a couple of things changed while many things remained the same. I still work in a medical office but I’ve completed about a year in graduate school for Secondary English Education program. I’ve gotten the opportunity to read great young adult novels and was able to observed schools, mainly English classes, and it has been an exciting journey. At this point in my life I’ve come to a realization that as much as I love to read books, not everyone share the same excitement, so I am determine to find ways to make books relevant to all my students when I begin my teaching career.

VM- Hi all ! I am a passionate reader, and when I say that, I mean that I would probably be buried in a book of some sort at every given moment of my life if I had the chance! Throughout my life I have explored reading, writing, and performing through an assortment of mediums: acting, music, comedy, and both fictional and memoir writing (I am currently working on a book that I hope to finish the final draft of this summer). Being actively involved in the arts throughout my teenage years and well into my twenties eventually led me to my one true love: teaching English Language Arts. This year is my first year teaching, and whew…it has been a life-changing experience. I work at an arts school in the Bronx and I am enjoying and learning (through various triumphs and challenges) on a daily basis. Teaching literature in such an amazing school has truly been a dream come true for me. Even on the most difficult days, I am grateful for the opportunity that I have been given to help my students to make a difference in their own lives, as well as the world around them. They have already made a big one in mine.

MM: I am in love with the old Romantics and Magical Realists. My past work includes book publishing/editing and teaching. I am currently a bookseller endeavoring on writing a book of my own. I have found a new and amazing purpose in becoming an English Teacher; so I believe we are all going along on the same adventure. Cheers.

Naptharoe grew up in England and Northern California.¬† She has a B.A. from CUNY Hunter College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from CUNY City College.¬† Her poems and short stories have appeared in Global City Review, Split Lip Magazine, Scapegoat Review and others.¬† She currently lives in New York City with her family and a Dalmatian named Pink where she teaches English to people who don’t love books enough.

3 thoughts on “Who we are

  1. OM= Future English Teacher/fantasy writer. I’ve often thought about completing a fantasy novel. As a child I marveled at comics. I’ve also noticed that there are very few superheros with disabilities (physical). I would love to finish a fantasy novel using my own disability to create a unique character. A character that looks beyond his/her disability and see greatness within him/her self and fight evil/prejudice against people who cannot fight for themselves. I agree with PO “why can’t we get more adolescents to read more?” I think in this day and age adolescents are more geared to literature that they can connect to. In our contemporary society many students dislike the classics that we read and I “guess” mostly like. Now they are into a new genre of literature called Urban Literature aka Street Literature. These are mostly books written by self publishing authors like Teri Woods. One example of this genre of book is “B**ch Reloaded.”

  2. Who We Are:-Paul Bland
    We are individuals who recognize the importance of learning, the process of learning in individual lives and how language and the proper use of English can be of great value to anyone striving to be their best professionally or personally. We wish to show the importance and power of the English
    language and how through its use, it can affect the cultural, political and racial environment around us. There is a tradition of learning through literature and written response but also I think we are prospective teachers who realize that unlike social media where individuals are detached physically, in the classroom we have the opportunity to communicate on a one on one basis. The important use of dialogue and the exchange of ideas that can be seen not just through words but body language and facial expression is something we want to take advantage of in the process of teaching students. We care about humanity and the idea of justice and liberty, as corny as it may seem in our modern day world of money conscious action. We want to express the idea of caring, kindness and fairness, even if there seems an imbalance of material wealth and opportunity for all. We want to make a real contribution to the lives of young adolescents through the means in which we have been given, the lesson plan and our own interpretation of learning.

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