English teachers head to a “new classroom”

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Recently as of March 1st to March 3rd, the majority of Mariemont’s English teachers traveled to Worthington, Ohio just north of Columbus on their way to attend OCTELA (Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts). Mr. Weiss, Mr. Wiseman, Mrs. Reilly, Mrs. Storch, and Mrs. Colaw were the five English teachers who decided to go on the trip to Columbus along with many other English teachers in the Ohio area.

OCTELA had many speakers talking to many English teachers in the Ohio area giving them different tips and advice on how to help their students better understand the material. Mr. Wiseman said, “We also had some sessions where we would listen to other teachers talk about how they teach their subjects.” Wiseman said he felt these sessions were very important because they allowed him to hear the different ways teachers teach and gave him new and different ideas on how to teach his students.

Reilly, Weiss, Lowery, Colpi, and Wiseman gather at the check-in for the OCTELA conference, March 1-3 in Worthington, Oh. (PHOTO BY COLPI).

When asked about why he went on the trip Mr. Wiseman said, “As the chair of the English department it’s nice to go mid-year to be reenergized for teaching, and it’s a good learning opportunity for other teachers who have never been.” Wiseman also talked about how it’s always a great idea to try and learn something new about your profession and trying something a different way could always help.

Mr. Weiss said over email, “I went because teaching, in many ways, can be an isolating profession: we stay in our classrooms, our departments, our schools, our districts. Consequently, ideas and innovations can stagnate or become tired.” Weiss also talked about how he wants to keep new ideas coming into the classroom to keep the students engaged making learning easier.

Mrs. Reilly talked about how even though shes never been to this specific conference before she has gone to many conventions over the summer and wanted to continue going because she loves learning new ways to teach her subjects.

Wiseman and Colaw enjoy a moment between English meetings to pose. (PHOTO BY WISEMAN).

When asked about what did they learn from the trip Mrs. Storch said, “I learned how to incorporate more student choice within my classroom. The hope is this choice for students will make the class more engaging.” She says that at the conference the speakers put an emphasis on letting the students have a choice in how they learn. If they are given the choice on how they want to learn then they will be more engaged with what they are doing and be motivated to learn more.

Mr. Wiseman has already started implementing things he has learned over the trip into his classroom right now, and he has already planned to restructure how he teaches certain topics for next year. Mrs. Reilly has already started giving her students more independence in the classroom by letting them take the lead on most of their projects.