Come On Down to the Coffeehouse

Sophie Wojciechowski and Sarah Clark

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In January of this year, Mrs. Snyder joined us here at Cuba-Rushford as the new ninth grade English teacher. Mrs. Snyder went to college at Alfred University for her undergraduate degree and Elmira for her master’s degree. She has previously taught at Corning Painted Post and at Alfred University. She left Corning Painted post due to her children being born, but since they started pre-k, she decided to return to teaching. She became a teacher due to her love of books and the summers off. While here at Cuba-Rushford, she has expressed that she highly enjoys the school, her co-workers and the students.

In her free time, Mrs. Snyder enjoys running, or in her words, “I like to run very far, very slowly.” She especially enjoys participating in half marathons because she is “only half crazy.” Her other hobbies include yoga, reading, and spending time with her two children who are four years old. One of the projects she has done with her students this year was the Coffeehouse, which her students seemed to enjoy.

The Coffeehouse stemmed from one of the essays Mrs. Snyder’s students had to write this year. Her students had to write a This I Believe essay, which is an essay about an individual’s philosophy to get them through life. The chosen philosophy had to be explained through personal experience. Most of the students enjoyed writing the essays, most saying that “the projects assigned are really creative and almost always apply to our current stories.” The Coffeehouse in general was a hit for most of the students, one of them saying, “Coffeehouse is probably one of my most favorite parts in English class. The essays we worked so hard on we get to share with our peers. It helps us to do presentations and to be more open/comfortable with our peers.” After the essays were written, she brought up the idea of sharing them with the class and her students responded well to this. The class was not forced to share their essays, as some were very personal. The students that chose to read their essays went in front of the class where an image of a stage was projected onto the board and presented their philosophies. After everyone that wanted to share their essays went, everyone got food as it was “good motivation.” Mrs. Snyder’s own personal philosophy would be “We screw up. We say we’re sorry. We do what we can to make it better, then we start over and try again. Rinse. Repeat.”

Mrs. Snyder’s favorite part of teaching is when her students enjoy what they are doing. After the Coffeehouse and the This I Believe unit, she is moving on to reading the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, which was written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney. The book is a semi-autobiographical piece with written parts, illustrated diagrams and a comic book style. The book itself is fictional, but it is loosely based on Alexie’s own life growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The students are also going to be creating their own autobiographical portraits for themselves.

Mrs. Snyder is a positive addition to the Cuba-Rushford staff. She helps her students become more comfortable with their peers as well as becoming more excited to go to English class. The projects she does with her students all seem to bring forth positive reactions and are a great way for students to get engaged with themselves and their peers.

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