• "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character--that is the true goal of education." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

    After more than 15 years of teaching secondary English at all levels in many contexts, I am excited to continue my new journey at Vista del Lago High School. My commitment to my students and my community is to provide each student the tools to grow both intellectually and in character. We do much writing throughout the year, and to make the expectations clear, students will be well-versed in the grading rubrics, classroom expectations and evaluation policies, and what I am looking for with each separate assignment. Our course theme in both ERWC and Beginning Composition is VOICE: How do we begin establishing our own voices as speakers, writers, and thinkers? What strategies will we use to make our voices heard--respectfully and with conviction? Which path will we take to navigate our way through all noise so our position is heard and valued? And most importantly, how do we in turn become engaged, respectful listeners? Each day, this is our focus, and the learning activities will nurture the mastery of this theme, the learning standards, and the goals and vision of the Vista staff, students, and stakeholders.  

    My Teaching Philosophy

    One poem that drives my teaching and that grounds me as a teacher is “Lines Written As A School Exercise At Hawkshead, Anno Aetatis” by William Wordsworth, where he espouses the great philosophy that a child’s education—a proper education—, married of course with his or her experience with the natural world, is what creates a whole person: 

    "To teach, on rapid wings, the curious soul
    To roam from heaven to heaven, from pole to pole,
    From thence to search the mystic cause of things
    And follow Nature to her secret springs;
    Nor less to guide the fluctuating youth
    Firm in the sacred paths of moral truth,
    To regulate the mind's disordered frame,
    And quench the passions kindling into flame; "
    (Classic Poetry, n.d., 73-80)

    I believe in working one-on-one with each student, identifying his or her strengths and goals (short and long term). Throughout the year, we will revisit these goals, working together to assess which strategies prove most effective. Students will receive feedback using a myriad of platforms, from face-to-face to real-time, digital support, to safeguard their success. Using Google Drive and Turnitin.com, students will review, evaluate, and improve their work collaboratively and individually. Reflection plays a critical role in the learning process; thus, after--and during--each writing assignment, they will engage in personal reflections so as to improve and establish their voice. 


  • My background

    I've been fortunate to teach English at the high school level. After graduating from Summerville High in Tuolumne, CA in 1998, I attended college in San Diego. As a journalism major at Point Loma Nazarene University, I always had a passion for writing and reading literature. That paved the way for my receiving my credential and masters in teaching from Chapman University and inspired me to continue my education at the American College of Education with an Ed.D. in Education. ​Hoping to help my students also find an appreciation for writing and literature--both fiction and non-fiction, I spend much time teaching them how to analyze and how to hone their writing styles. When I'm not in the classroom, I am either traveling with my family, studying or writing essays for my own classes, running, scuba diving, or attending one of my daughter's sporting events.  

Ms. Willis
  • "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character--that is the true goal of education."

    --Martin Luther King, Jr.