Hi! My name is Lauren Baxter, and I am entering my sixth year as a Communication Arts teacher at Cocalico Middle School in Denver, Pennsylvania. For the past five years, I have taught seventh graders both Communication Arts and Literacy Workshop. In the upcoming school year, I will be transitioning to teach eighth graders for the first time and am looking forward to seeing the wheels of thinking and learning turn in room 121 while discussing Shakespeare, Anne Frank and my favorite authors, my students!
My philosophy of teaching centers on my students and the fact that their words have power. The classroom is not mine, but rather “ours;” it is a space where students feel welcome and safe, and where their voices are not just heard, but valued. Everyone is expected to participate in class discussions and share daily in order to enrich the learning experiences of the class as a whole. Students are asked to take risks and to reflect on the outcomes, whether good or bad; without risk taking, collaboration cannot be brought to its fullest potential. Above all, I want my students to gain the skills to become agents of change inside and outside of the classroom. While covering the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are crucial, none of the content will matter unless students are applying that knowledge to their lives and the greater good of our world.
In addition to teaching, I am co-advisor of our school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, CREW advisory committee member, miniTHON committee member, and proud participant of CMS’s Heart and Sole Program. I am also a Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellow; through this fellowship, I am able to work with students and teachers all across the country to enhance my instruction and make opportunities available for my students to build oratory skills and understand the art of public speaking. I continue to further my education by earning my Master’s Degree in English at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and am looking forward to contributing to the professional community there as well.
When I’m not in school, you can find me researching my next vacation, buying and reading books, or spending time eating potato chips with friends!