Emily Cavanagh has been teaching at the Charter School since 2005. Emily received her BA in English from the University of New Hampshire and her MA in English, Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. In addition to teaching 7/8 and First Year English at MVPCS, Emily is a writer. She has had stories published in several literary journals and is working on a novel, though she has gotten a little side-tracked this year with the birth of her daughter, Nevah.
I believe that becoming a stronger writer is just like becoming a better athlete or musician—in order to improve, you need to practice. To that end, we practice writing every day in English class. Writers need honest feedback on their craft, and a safe, supportive environment is crucial to allow students to share their work. Students are encouraged to let go of their inner critic until we are ready for the revision stage of writing and to support each other’s growth as writers. Students are given regular opportunities to share their work and to get responses from their peers and teachers.
If you ask any professional writer how to get better at writing, s/he will tell you that, aside from writing regularly, you should be reading regularly. Strong writers are avid readers. In addition to developing a broader vocabulary and an understanding of grammar and usage, reading regularly helps students to internalize elements of craft and structure which they are able to apply to their own writing more readily. I strive to make my classroom an environment rich in literature. We read aloud, we relish our free read time in class, we talk about books, and we share book recommendations. It is my goal that students leave my classroom with the confidence that they are writers, the necessary skills to put the pen to the page, and the desire to discover new worlds of literature.