Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Teacher Feature: Olivia Edwardson


Olivia Edwardson is an eighth grade language arts teacher at Cheney Middle school who truly considers herself to be a writer outside of the classroom. She pursues a variety of writing genres, including journaling, blogging, nonfiction writing, and journalism. She is currently working on a few nonfiction book projects and hopes to someday publish them. Moreover, she even contributes pieces to GenTwenty, an online publication that describes itself as “The Twenty-Something’s Guide to Life.” Olivia particularly enjoys writing lifestyle and career pieces for GenTwenty. She clearly has experience writing in a variety of genres.

Olivia’s passion for writing flows into her teaching, as she uses her own writing as mentor texts in the classroom. She not only shows her students her work but also demonstrates how she revised these pieces over time so the students can understand revision processes. Through this modeling, she instills in them an understanding that writing can never be perfect the first time and that revision is essential to become a stronger writer. Olivia also believes that writers must write daily to become better writers, which is why she provides opportunities for her students to journal every day on various topics.

Much of what fuels Olivia’s strengths in writing and teaching is what she spends her time reading outside of school. She says that she reads primarily to stay informed and foster imaginative ideas. Her desire to learn about the world is what inspired her to read about a variety of topics and begin her nonfiction writing. Above all, she considers reading “an opportunity... to broaden [her] horizons and grow as an individual.”

Olivia’s desire for individual growth is apparent from the book she is currently reading, Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. The book provides an in-depth discussion about the American education system as well as strategies for better preparing students for the future. Olivia began reading this book after seeing the documentary based on the book at the Fargo Theater a couple weeks ago. After learning about these revolutionary teaching strategies through the film, she decided that she needed to learn more to better her own knowledge and teaching. Thus, Olivia’s reading significantly fuels her aims to learn about the world and strengthen her writing instruction.