When people ask me what I do, I say I’m a freelance writer and college composition instructor.
That doesn’t really tell the story, though. As a wordsmith, I’ve been shaped by so much more than my English degree or my educator training. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, and always knew I would study English in college. I received my B.A. in English at Carleton College in 1994. After that, I ventured into the exciting world of advertising, where I learned how to write all over again in a completely new context. Having nearly ten years of intensive training in business writing was an invaluable experience that showed me how important it is never to stop evolving. I learned that what is expected from an essay in an English classroom is not necessarily what will be required in other contexts.
After nine years in the ad industry, I made a life change and became a high school English teacher in the Boston area. In this position, I had the opportunity to work with students of a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities, including a large number who spoke other languages. Once again, I had to reassess what is important to learn about writing.
In 2006, my husband and I moved to northern Virginia, where I completed my M.A. in the Teaching of Writing and Literature at George Mason University. After graduating, I began teaching Introduction to Composition at Northern Virginia Community College. After more than eleven years, I am still teaching composition there, including past work with students in the areas of Developmental Writing and Writing for the Web. I teach exclusively online now, and have been doing so since before the pandemic even happened. This was after having completed many hours of training in the best practices of online learning communities. I also redesigned an entire online course for the college that uses all free, open resources from the web.
I love working with people on their writing, because I truly believe it is a skill that can make any life better – regardless of a person’s vocation. If your student needs a little help preparing for the college classroom, or simply succeeding in the high school classroom, give me a shout. I am ready to help!
In addition to my teaching, I now put a lot of my energy toward the crafting of soothing bedtime stories for adults who have trouble sleeping. I came to this job after the Get Sleepy podcast vastly improved my life – I recommend these stories to everyone who can’t fall asleep easily, or who frequently wakes up at night. Check out my bedtime story page for more information or to try one (free!) for yourself.