My name is Tegan Shelton and I am a high school English teacher. I completed my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in English Language Arts at Western Washington University with an emphasis in Literature. My teaching practicum was completed in the Ferndale School District at Windward High School, and I ended up doing my student teaching there, as well. I currently teach high school English in Skykomish, WA. I am also enrolled at Western Governor's University, working toward my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
During my time spent at the university, I learned a lot about Carol Dweck’s theory of Growth Mindset and various other theory and educational methods. However, I learned the most through my on-site experiences with students and in my continuing work at my current place of employment. As a graduate of Western Washington University and a student of Woodring, I was immediately thrust into a working environment where I was surrounded by students and continuously encouraged to develop and hone my teaching skills.
I began working for Skykomish School District in 2016. As a new teacher placed into the role of Head of the English Department, as well as my being the only high school English teacher, I found myself in a position to be able to use common core standards (CCSS) to create my own courses and curriculum from day one. These experiences helped build my confidence and ability to teach. They taught me flexibility, instructional scaffolding skills, classroom management, student progress monitoring skills, and differentiation.
Working at a small school has given me opportunities that a new teacher isn't always fortunate enough to experience. I am the Head of the English Department, I have taken on the monthly school newsletter, yearbook, senior projects, and am the head of the drama department. I have been able to work closely with every member of the staff in order to help shape our students into successful members of society. I have experienced the shift that comes with existing within the beginning stages of a Leader in Me School, which we are utilizing as we work toward growth in our school culture. I have also worked in collaboration with a group of secondary English teachers at NW Rise in order to help our kids grow, thrive, and reach out to others in small, rural schools.
I am well-practiced in developing curriculum and lesson plans. I strive to focus on differentiation in the classroom in order to give each student the tools they need to achieve their personal goals. I also work to focus my lessons on current events in order to allow students an insight into how their learning also connects to the world around them. Project Based Learning (PBL) is important to my classes because it allows my small-town students to practice an opportunity to feel as though they are being heard, as though they are making a difference, while also learning cooperatively. We also incorporate technology into our learning as often as possible, whether it be to create video self-portraits or book trailers, film a scene from a play or book, record podcasts or radio theater, or even to self-assess. My students are versed in web design and video editing; they understand how to write and perform, and they have learned how to collaborate with technology. In a world that is so based in technology that continually grows, I think it is important for my students to understand not only how to write a paper, but how to communicate in other multi-modal ways.
Besides differentiation and current events, I am also intentional in my creating a classroom community where students are unafraid to find their voices and be themselves. Students in my classroom are frequently asked to not only self-assess, but also to assess their peers, and it is so important to have a safe environment in order for that to happen.
I pride myself on creating a safe environment where my students know that they are loved and cared for. My walls are covered by books and art. My goal is to create a safe haven for my students through reading. My hope for my students is that they are able to make connections through their reading. I want them to be able to read about different life experiences and put them into perspective with their own insights, leading to empathy and a more thorough understanding of the world around them.
In the future, I would like to focus specifically on technology and the ways in which it can elevate the classroom experience. I want to continue to cultivate relationships with my colleagues, incorporate mindfulness among my students, make learning exciting and fun, and involve the community in the work that we do.