home school writing advice, tips, and information

Having a personal philosophy of teaching is important because, as Alexander Hamilton pointed out, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” As a twenty-four year veteran educator, I have been in the profession long enough to remember when teaching grammar was punishable by ostracism from your department, not to mention the entire profession, and when teaching writing consisted of allowing students to find their way through “whole language.” Luckily, having lived through these trends and others has allowed me to take the best from each and create my own teaching philosophy.

A teaching philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing educational challenges by its critical, generally systematic approach to addressing those challenges, and its reliance on rational argument or evidence of successful practice.

The first guiding principle of my teaching philosophy is that I am to be a responsive teacher creating a learning environment that is responsive to all learners. As a responsive teacher, I strive to engage and assess students in order to build rapport and to immediately begin meeting the unique needs of each learner. Mutual respect in the classroom serving adult students includes understanding student motivation for engaging in education and using that knowledge to enhance motivation. A responsive teacher and learning environment creates a safe environment in which students feel challenged to explore their abilities while meeting the high educational expectations successfully.

The second guiding principle for my teaching philosophy is that all expectations should be made explicit and attainable through class attendance, instructor support, use of resources, and the application of improvements based on specific feedback to works in progress. In a classroom that is engaging, students see how the skills to be attained through successful completion of the course will translate into success in other areas of their lives, academically, professionally, and aesthetically.  Much like a child learns to ride a bike, first on a tricycle then with training wheels then independently and if interested with the ability to excel in tricks or distance, students learn through the use of a natural evolution of ideas and skills. Thus it is my belief that through the use of clear expectations, the review of models, understandable instructions and steps for completion, and the use of extensive feedback for improvement, all students can become proficient writers.

The final guiding principle of my teaching philosophy is that to be a good teacher, one must be a good example of a learner. Though I have extensive experience as an instructor and educational leader, I recognize the importance of being open to new strategies, new research, and new student experiences. Only through being a learner myself can I meet the needs of all students. We live in an ever-changing world therefore the needs of students are ever-changing and my strategies toward success with all students must be flexible and fueled by the curiosity of finding best practices in each unique situation. I believe a successful teacher is a reflective teacher and the biggest challenges in the classroom are those with the potential to teach the instructor the most.

As an educator, my love of learning and my desire to motivate others to see the value in learning stand at the heart of my teaching philosophy.


Diane’s Vita:


Books –

2010            Fear…The Anger Trigger (FMSProductions)

2010           Writing With Home: A Comprehensive Writing Curriculum

2009           Weekly Affirmations for Pre-menopausal Women (James A. Rock)

2005           Classroom Record Keeping Made Simple (Corwin Press)

2004           Quick and Easy Ways to Connect with Students and Their Parents (Corwin Press)

2004           Wishes in the Field (PubishAmerica)

Magazines –

Summer 2012       “Barefoot, Pregnant and in the Big House”, Evening Street Review

April, 2012          “Feminazi Goddess”, Exterminating Angel Press

April, 2012          “The Breaking Of My Bleeding Liberal Heart”, Epiphany

ongoing, 2012      Guest Post On “Shut Up About It”

March 2012           “Occupying Hope”, Exterminating Angel Press

February 2012     “Fragile Birds: Incarceration and Poverty”, Exterminating Angel Press

October 2011       “The Perfect Job for a Bleeding Heart Liberal”, Eclectica

July 2009             “Choosing Sides”, The Sun

March 2006                   “Dream”, Mamazine

September 2004   “Making the Most of  Parent/Teacher Relationships”, Teachers of Vision

March 2004                   “Kids Like Kyle”, Writers Notes Magazine

October 2000       “Cinderella Feet”, Anthology Magazine

Summer 2000       “Careful”, RATTLE

September 1998   “Moses’ Daughter”, Angel News Magazine


Anthologies –

2008                     “Sober, Not Dry”,          Voices of Alcoholism, Lachance Publishing

Other Experience –

2012/2011            University of California, Riverside Extension Instructor

2011 – 2008      Director of The Writer’s Gallery

2012                     Writing Coach/Tutor     Private Business

1998 – 1996                  Language Arts Consultant, Banning Unified School District

Conference Presenter:

2010                     “Writing With Home”, Home School Educators, Sacramento

2006                     “Writing Curriculum Alignment”, Uniserve

2006                     “Good Teaching of Writing”, CTA

2005                     “Teaching Writing”, Teacher Educators Conference

Education –

2011                     Masters of  Fine Arts, Creative Nonfiction, National University

2010                     CLAD Certificate, University of Phoenix

1989                     The Inland Empire Writing Project

1988                     B.A. English, University of California, Riverside

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