Degrees and Certifications:
Ann Lewis has a Masters in the Art of Teaching in English Education grades 6-12 from Georgia State University and an English from the University of Georgia. She has over 7 years experience teaching high school English in Atlanta, Ga and on the Gulf Coast of Florida. She is AP Literature, AP Language and AICE General Paper certified and trained. This is her second year at CCA teaching 7th and 8th grade writing. She was honored to receive the Teacher of the Year Award for the 2019/2020 year.
Before becoming a high school teacher, she taught English as a second language to adults in Argentina, South Africa and the US. Not only is she TESOL/TEFL certified, but she has also been an instructor in TESL/TEFL courses certifying teachers to go overseas.
Within her years of experience, Ann has also worked as a Marketing Director for a publications firm in South Africa and a copy editor for a daily newspaper there. Indeed, she brings her myriad experience to demonstrate the value of effective communication no matter what career path a person has.
I have developed my philosophy and practice over my 13 years of diverse teaching experience, including teaching high school for seven years, middle school for one year, and ESL to adults for over five years.
In my years, I have had the opportunity of teaching all levels of students and strongly believe that each student deserves not only to be met where they are but also to be challenged to grow and excel. High expectations yield increased confidence and performance.
Whether teaching AP, honors, remedial, regular, or team-taught, my standards and techniques remain the same. What I mean is that I believe in each student and the group as a whole. We become a team of learners who support and challenge each other respectfully.
In life and in the classroom, time is valuable. As I tell my students from day one, I do not believe in assignments for assignments’ sake. I encourage each student to feel free to ask why we are doing an assignment. Each act should be purposeful and an integral part of reaching our objectives.
To that end, when building curriculum, having the end in mind is key to directing students through discovery. When I say the end in mind, I am speaking of the end assessment, which should depend on student learning/manipulation. It is my belief that students work best when they are given a road map and clear expectations, including modeling.
In one 12th grade class, I had a student who loved film but disliked more writing-based tasks. He struggled at the beginning of the unit but persevered. One day he held up his Unit Objective sheet (including an outline of tasks for the units and the end assessment). He asked hopefully when we would get to the end assessment (a student film). He was able to stay focused knowing he would have his opportunity to shine. Of course, the best learning is student-centered and varied. Assessments should allow choice and variety in how students present learning, while ensuring like Damon that students are exposed to and engaged in all aspects of assessments. Everyone has his/her learning style and strengths, which are to be celebrated; likewise, each unchartered area or strength-in-progress requires focused practice for improvement.
Accountability is woven into the classroom structure. I am engaging and fun, even freeing; however, class norms are clear and abided by at all times. The team mentality is critical in fostering a positive and safe learning environment for all.
Our focus in English is reading, writing, discussion, and writing. Bloom’s revised taxonomy becomes a part of our class lexicon: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. We employ metacognition in class, and I ask students to reflect on the type of task being asked of them and where they are on the scale.
In my most recent course, Cambridge’s AICE General paper course, students focused on writing expository, persuasive and discursive essays. When the course ended, students participated in a final reflection project. I was taken aback at how many students offered the following comment in addition to the typical improvement in reading and writing: Mrs. Lewis, I’ve become more open to other ideas.
In 7th and 8th Grade, in an effort to view multiple perspectives and to simply explore the ideas, we have had many Socratic Seminars. I often have students connect literature to other texts or the world in such a seminar, further pushing them to find themes and conflicts beyond the work itself. In these ways, I align with CCA's charter as it states literature is valuable in its relevance to life yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Ultimately, I believe in creating a positive, engaging and ever evolving classroom setting where students are treated with respect, met where they are, given the tools they need to be their best, and to leave as a citizen of the world.