National Writing Project

NWP Teachers at Work: Sandra Hogue

Date: October 2017

Summary: From classroom teacher to teacher leader, Louisville Writing Project co-director Sandra Hogue discusses the inspiration she found through the Writing Project, both personally and professionally.

 


The Writing Project changed me as a person and as a professional. It helped me to see my potential and that my potential can continue to grow. I have yet to find that level of growth and development in any other professional capacity.

I have worked in education for 22 years in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY—11 years as a classroom teacher of grades K-4, and 11 years in a range of leadership roles as a literacy coach, mentor, and curriculum writer. For the last five years, I have served as a Goal Clarity Coach at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School providing both in-classroom support and professional learning opportunities for the more than 30 teachers at my school.

My involvement with the Louisville Writing Project (LWP), beginning with the Invitational Summer Leadership Institute in 1999, has been career changing. I was encouraged to apply to the Writing Project early in my career and I did so not really knowing what to expect. I was a first-grade teacher, the first in my family to attend college, and I wanted to know everything that could help me be better at my work. An early opportunity working with a university professor on an action research project led me to deeper learning as a professional, but I didn't know exactly where to go from there. After my first summer of work with K-university colleagues at the LWP, I felt ready to go back to my classroom and conquer the world! I was on fire to translate all I had learned about teaching young writers through the invitational institute back to my practice as a first-grade teacher. My teaching of writing was transformed and this transfer of professional learning into action happened because of my experiences with LWP.

Like many young teachers, I was intimidated by writing. Through my involvement with the Writing Project, I was awakened to how to become a better writer through studying the craft of writing. My work helped me to see what was possible and how professional learning with colleagues could change my classroom practice.

I have had the opportunity to build my work as a teacher leader through a variety of positions in the Jefferson County Public Schools and all of these positions have been focused on instruction. I create, write, and deliver a wide range of professional learning programs and presentations, and all trace back to my work with LWP. Much of my current work focuses on supporting both teachers and other coaches in learning how to work with peers and how to offer support that promotes the implementation of strong instructional practices. The Writing Project provided me with an action research frame, a way to work on problems of practice, and to use current professional literature to guide instruction. Teachers teaching teachers is, in fact, the focus of my current doctoral studies where I am exploring a model not unlike the Writing Project model. I am exploring experiences of new urban teachers inducted into the work by capitalizing on experienced teachers and coaches in the process. The Writing Project continues to serve as an inspiration to me and to other educators to unearth our gifts as learners, teachers, and leaders. The Writing Project changed me as a person and as a professional. It helped me to see my potential and that my potential can continue to grow. I have yet to find that level of growth and development in any other professional capacity.

Sandra's story was featured in the 2016 NWP Annual Report.

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