Kate Fleming – English
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is seeing students progress in their thinking and reading and writing skills. I had a Sophomore student last year who wasn’t very interested in the texts that we were reading. I tap-danced through The Great Gatsby and Song of Solomon and, at the end of each novel, he would look at me and shrug. He was “doing” English class, but he wasn’t enjoying it. At the end of the year we read The Crucible and this student came back after the first reading assignment and announced that he had read the entire play in one night and loved it. “Loved it” I asked? “Loved it” he said. He then went on to be a leader in our class discussions of the play and wrote his best essay of the year on the text. It is truly a delight to watch students evolve and become agents of their own academic development, and it is moments like these that make teachers go home and shout “Yes!” as they do a hockey-goal celebration fist-pump. Though, it wasn’t me, actually, that made such an impression on this student. It was Arthur Miller; and rightly so. I’m just glad I was there to watch it all happen.
How would you summarize your teaching philosophy?
Watch one, do one, teach one.
Why did you become a teacher?
Honestly, I wanted to talk about books all day. I thought, since going deep with a text was is favorite activity, why not do it for a living? Eighteen years later, my work day consists of a wide variety of tasks and challenges, many of which happen outside of the classroom. But, when all is said and done, the hours of the week that I spend with kids talking about books are the absolutely best. It’s dumb luck, really, that I wound-up doing a job that I love so much.
What is a piece of advice you have for students at CC?
Enjoy your time here. Have fun with your friends. Try something new. Laugh! Failure is a part of learning, so fall-down and mess-up as much as possible. You will be that much wiser because of it.
Describe your teaching style.
I’m passionate about what students can accomplish when they put their minds to it, and I try to make hard-work and deep-thinking exciting and rewarding. I like to get the students moving and thinking and working during our class time in an effort to give them all the tools they need to engage in the learning process outside the classroom.