Nathan Kurtti: Beulah High School, Beulah, ND
|Nathan: Europe Summer 2016|
What do you write outside the classroom?
Outside of the classroom, I typically like to write short stories, children stories, narrative fiction, and all kinds of poetry. Among the writing I do outside of the classroom, poetry is typically my favorite to write. I have always enjoyed the form and the way I can use it to artistically express myself. I also hope in the coming years to find the time to sit down and finish a young adult novel I have been working on for over a year now. I want to one day publish the novel and share it with my future students.
Do any of your writing philosophies/interests translate to your teaching?
Oh, definitely. I try to center a large percentage of my classroom philosophies and interests around writing instruction. From what I have learned throughout my college career, writing is more than a one-step-and-done process. Writing involves more than simply turning in an assignment and being done with it. I view any piece of writing as a living being that needs love and attention. It might not be perfect right away, but with the right care and attention, writing will always change and become better. That’s the beauty of writing: to adapt and blossom into something new.
Writing holds a special place in how I use discussion in the classroom. I always want to begin class periods off with writing prompts or questions to help engage students in the topics that will be discussed that day. I find some of the most insightful discussions to come when students have the time to think and write before responding. While I do not always grade the writing or have it turned in, I find it most important that the students are simply writing and putting pen to paper or hand to keyboard. Writing in the classroom is a great way for me to know what my students are thinking and lets me understand them. I want to build that connection and trust with my students, and I think writing allows for students to really express themselves in a variety of ways.
Who encouraged you to be a teacher?
Although my family has always been supportive of me, I never remember anyone in particular ever encouraging me to be a teacher. It has been a learning experience for myself to see where I want to be in life. I have had multiple people in my life, such as my family, teachers, professors, and friends encourage me to do whatever makes me happy, but my journey towards teaching has been very self-directed and motivated.
Since my senior year of high school I have had an interest in English education. This motivation might stem from having a speech impediment at a young age, going to speech therapy, and gaining the confidence in high school to go out for theater and speech. Being able to conquer those obstacles and look on the positive side, I believe, has driven me to strive to be a supportive role model for future generations of students. In a way, the challenges in my own life have shaped me into a person who wants to reach out to others in need of assistance and support.
I feel like the supportive people in my life have driven me to pursue what I love, and that is teaching.