I've been teaching high school English at Revere High School for fifteen years. Revere is an urban school district, a few miles north of Boston. Approximately 65% of our students qualify for free/reduced lunch. Forty-six languages are spoken by our students, who are Salvadorian, Bosnian, Albanian, Moroccan, Columbian, Brazilian, and Italian, to name a few.I was thirty-five when I got my first teaching job, after spending several uninspired years as a paralegal. Since that time, I have become a National Board Certified Teacher and earned my Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. I teach in the Graduate School of Education at Emmanuel College, my alma mater; am a member of the National Commission on Writing, the MA Dept. of Secondary and Elementary Education Knowledge and Skills of Professional Teaching Project-Family and Engagement Sub-Committee, and am the College Board Regional Council Member from MA. My philosophy of teaching is grounded in the belief that all students can achieve at the highest level. My goal is to promote academic excellence for all students. Despite the many obstacles to some students’ learning, I refuse to accept failure or mediocrity. Rather, I try to encourage, support, challenge, motivate, and inspire students. My philosophy embodies many fundamentals of teaching, such as providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students, and fostering an atmosphere where critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding take place. I believe humor can facilitate learning, help with classroom management, and make the learning experience more enjoyable. My strength is in motivating students - I want to make learning cool. From the most hardened gang member to the valedictorian in my AP Literature class, my expectations are that each student realize their potential. After a year in my classroom, my students, many who deal with social problems such as drug and alcohol-addicted or absentee parents, poverty, violence, and language issues, recognize that no obstacle is too large and that their resiliency will carry them through any difficult situation. I recognize that all learning does not take place in my classroom, and encourage my students to seek out new learning experiences by recommending books, classes at colleges, seminars, workshops, and cultural events. I am Advisor to the Culture Club, Future Teachers Club, and Literary Magazine. I strive to make sure students are able to connect to what they are learning, and I try to bring a contemporary context to my English classroom, whether that is through journal writing, music, artwork, or pop culture. For one of my favorite assignments I call Old School/New School, students compare and contrast "old school" poetry written before 1980, with poetry or song lyrics from the contemporary world. The works of Philip Larkin and Nine Inch Nails actually have more in common than you think!