Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday's Teacher Feature: Erika Dyk

This week's Featured Teacher is Erika Dyk, who is currently working with RRVWP to improve this very blog! Erika is responsible for many of the terrific changes the blog has seen in the past couple of months. Erika is currently a Master's student in the English Department at NDSU. Before coming to NDSU, Erika taught English in Hazen, ND. She completed Summer Institute in 2010. She is also one of the founders of My North Dakota Story (www.myndstory.com). We encourage you and your students to contribute your ND story!

The picture above was taken at RRVWP's Pens and Pints Writing Crawl this summer! 

For this week's Teacher Feature, Erika responded to the following interview questions:

What are you currently reading?
I have recently found myself in the midst of several books:
·         The Wandering Mind: What Your Brain Does When You're Not Looking by Michael C. Corballis
·         Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
·         The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
·         This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl by Esther Earl, Lori Earl, and Wayne Earl

Why do you read?
I read because first and foremost I love getting a glimpse into how other people view the world and how different brains connect ideas. Reading helps me understand the world around me. I also love to read to see how people arrange words, sometimes playfully, sometimes poetically, sometimes seriously.

What do you like to write outside the classroom? Why do you write?
I write to connect ideas together, but in the connection of ideas, people are connected as well. I really like to write creative non-fiction and also young adult/middle grade fiction. 

Do any of your writing philosophies/interests translate to your teaching? 
Whenever I teach writing, sharing my writing and perhaps more importantly sharing the writing process is vital. I learned from taking the Northern Plains Writing Summer Institute (I am a transplant to the RRVWP) the vital importance of having a community of writers in order to support writing instruction. I also discovered Penny Kittle that summer! Fostering community in the classroom fosters better writing, both for the teacher and for the students. 

Who encouraged you to be a teacher?
I've always loved learning and was blessed to have excellent teachers. Also, my mom was a teacher and had a big heart for education. Thus, I always thought about being a teacher in the back of my mind, but I originally wanted to be a math teacher. Choosing an area to specialize in was difficult, which is why I think I chose English: you can read and write about any subject!

Call for comments: Share your own inspirations and reading interests! Do you connect with anything that Erika shared? Remember, comment on any blog post in October and be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of Winger by Andrew Smith!!