November Graider of the Month: Anna Lane

With great pride, we are announcing Anna Lane as our November Graider of the Month. We run out of superlatives to describe her incredible impact on students - not to mention what a pleasure she is to work with. Plus, the effusive praise she’s garnered from educators is striking.

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“Anna provided amazingly detailed feedback for my students that will help them improve on future essays. Her attention to detail should be applauded!”

- J. McDonald, Chicago IL

Anna is absolutely insane! I am so impressed by her feedback to the kids. It was so thoughtful and specific.

- A. Evans, Houston TX

Anna, thank you for the thorough, insightful feedback on my student's essays. I really appreciate the specific encouragement, too, and that you took the time to invest in praising my students. I know that they will appreciate it. 
She is brilliant.

- B. Thornton, Wheaton IL

“Anna is an all-star. Anna used an optimistic and affirming voice in all her comments, to the class, to me, and to the students themselves. She was precise when praising and polishing student work. She went beyond expectations to provide specific and personalized comments for my students. Anna is dedicated, detailed, decisive — a true professional.

— J. Damaso, Phoenix AZ

In speaking with Anna, it’s clear that her success comes from her true love of literary analysis and her compassion for learners. Like most folks with deep empathy, Anna developed that trait the hard way. 

In early high school, Anna really struggled with mathematics and went from being normally an A-student to earning Cs and Ds in math. She spent every lunch in her teacher's classroom doing homework with her and obtaining constant feedback, and after a few months became the highest scoring person in the class! This inspired a passion for both mathematics (she went on to major in mathematics and economics at Boston University and is now pursuing her masters), but also for learning. 

It’s ok to be bad at something. Some things are hard to learn.
— Anna Lane

An Effective Feedback Strategy
The way that Anna approaches her work is unique. After a normal review of all the supporting documents that teachers provide, Anna conducts the literary analysis herself, as if she were a student given the passage. That equips her with both intimate knowledge of the text, prepares her for likely responses from students, and builds her empathy for how creative and insightful students need to be to craft a great analysis. Then, she dives into the essays. 

In the process of working at The Graide Network, Anna has come to appreciate how powerful it is for students to understand the specific strengths of what they’ve done. She was naturally strong at identifying constructive areas for growth, and learned to focus more heavily on articulating students’ strengths. 

Making feedback student-friendly is one of the key hallmarks of effective feedback that we emphasize at The Graide Network, and Anna exemplifies that quality. One of her strategies for doing so is to pick out something the student did well in one part and connect it to something they didn’t quite perfect. For example, perhaps the student didn’t make a specific enough argument in their thesis, but they did in a later body paragraph. 

It is important that students know that I’m smiling and I’m on their side.
— Anna Lane

Even before working at The Graide Network, Anna says she spent a lot of time thinking about education, particularly its weakness in serving students from disadvantaged backgrounds. She loves knowing her role providing feedback is helping to fill a gap for those students who haven’t always been told they are great at school. If there’s one message she would like students to understand, it’s this: 

Mindset is everything. It affects your productivity, your grades, and how quickly you learn things. Some days are hard and discouraging - you have to remember to be nice to yourself.
— Anna Lane

With a powerful learning philosophy behind her, it’s no wonder that Anna provides the kind of feedback that sparks learning for students and admiration from teachers.

Congratulations, Anna!