Who am I, Anyway?

I have been a high school English and history teacher for over twenty-five years. I frequently tell my students that practicing writing is the only way to improve or stay sharp as a writer, and today, July 1, 2015, I decided to put my money (or at least my fingers) where my mouth is by starting my first blog.Β  I am actively involved in curriculum development and implementation, and I am especially interested in using technology to engage students and bring a more varied learning experience to the classroom.

So, what’s up with Socrates Underground? Like Socrates, I encourage my students to question the world and ideas around them. I believe true learning only begins when we challenge ourselves to explore uncomfortable and unfamiliar ideas. I feel that the world is enriched by those who are willing to consider both new and old ideas. In Socratic form, I engage my students in dialogs, and my students likewise introduce me to new ideas each year which I believe make me a better teacher. Underground…? Well, any time you’re encouraging the new generation to question the tried and true traditions of the past, it can be misconstrued as a bit subversive. I believe that the most deeply and truly held beliefs are those that have withstood introspection, and I encourage my students to understand the source of their beliefs, not abandon them. I have a passion for what I do and hope to continue growing and working with young people for for many more years.

In 2015, I was honored to receive a Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award. This tremendous honor was the result of a former student’s nomination citing the impact I had on her life. You can read about the award at the Kennedy Center website. http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/awards/sondheim/nominees15.cfm.Β 

Has a teacher had a tremendous influence in your life? Let him or her know. A simple note or call can make a teacher’s day.

19 thoughts on “Who am I, Anyway?

  1. I’ve always had a special respect for my English teachers (the ones that seemed to know what they were doing anyway), especially my English teacher my senior year in high school who inspired me to listen to my heart. I love your outlook on teaching and your opinions on introspection and challenging everything and actually thinking! This is what a teacher’s outlook should be, because nothing can ever change or be developed if we don’t pursue and ardently challenge ours and others beliefs. Keep it up!

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  2. It was really interesting to read your introduction and I love your teaching passion! your students are lucky to have you leading by the example πŸ™‚ Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tracey. Have read your four most recent posts and enjoyed each one. Thoughtful and thought-provoking. Good for you for writing as you advise your students to do. I don’t know where you find the time to blog, but I’m looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Tracey,
    Enjoyed reading your About page. I love your strategy of asking questions. Always, I do this with my students. When we have a chapter of novel, I ask them to work in groups and start creating questions for each part. This helps them to improve critical and creative thinking skills, and learn more deeply. I followed you to see how a successful teacher like you works and grows.
    All the best!
    πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I so agree with how a teacher can impact a student’s life. I taught kindergarten for a few years at a private school. Been to many high school graduations, and one of my very first students is now in politics. I shake inside thinking of what I might have deposited in that child’s head! πŸ˜€ Congrats on your reward. What an awesome honor!

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    1. Thank you so much! I like your phrase “deposited in that child’s head.” I often remind myself that none of ever really know what our student’s actually take away from their experiences with us. It is a good reminder.

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  6. Greetings πŸ™‚ I thank you for the like on Calen’s blog, and saw you had a post ‘Who Am I, Anyway?” and I thought I’d come over and find out!

    First, Cool and congrats @ the Stephen Sondheim award! The West Side Story guy! My absolute favorite movie when I was just a wee one myself. πŸ™‚

    I love the idea of the ‘underground.’ I’m not talking the subway, either πŸ™‚ It’s the whole resistance to that which is not forgiving of anything which doesn’t tow the party line… I was a rebel when I was young. Take the road less traveled, and all that. So it’s very nice to meet you Tracey Rains. And welcome to WordPress and blogging.

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  7. A teacher who does what she teaches is awesome. You’re right, kids should keep writing , their thoughts ideas and how they see world. In their small world they have so many different angles which we can only imagine if we think of ourselves back at their age. I’m glad you found me, I am looking forward to read your posts. Thanks:)

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    1. Thank you so much! It was just this year that I had this epiphany that I really only wrote when I had to. What an awful example for a writing teacher! And I truly love to write…how we get sidetracked!

      I already find that I’m approaching instruction differently! You can see some of what my kids did on my classroom site Logophiles Unleashed. (www.logophilesunleashed.wordpress.com). I got them interested at the start of the year with a small extra credit project, and they participated far beyond my hopes. I have been encouraging my CP classes to start participating more. They are more hesitant than the honors, but they’re starting to jump in there! I’m so excited about what all we can do this year together!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Tracey, thx so much for your comment on my effects article. May I cite your example, anonymised if you prefer, in a talk I’m giving on Saturday? Sorry fir delay in responding to yr comment on techlearning site, but I only just saw it. I have now. Love your philosophy and I look forward to reading your blog articles.

    Liked by 1 person

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