May Graider of the Month: Jillian Freeman

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As we ready to close the books on another successful school year, The Graide Network team has been busy reflecting on the past 12 months, celebrating our Areas of Strength and mapping out plans to tackle our Areas for Growth, so to speak! One of our biggest “glows” and most proud accomplishments of this past school year has been all the work we’ve done around recruiting and developing our network of talented Graiders.

Graiders are the heart and soul of our team, and their collective passion, skill, intelligence, and hard work has made a lasting impact on hundreds of teachers and tens of thousands of students this year. It is my distinct honor to name our final Graider of the Month for the 2019-20 school year, Jillian Freeman.


About Our May Award Winner

Jillian is a rising junior at Dartmouth College majoring in Political Science. She’s also been a dedicated tutor since the age of 12 (you’re welcome Jillian’s younger brothers!!), so it’s no wonder she quickly became a superstar Graider. Teachers have truly raved about Jillian’s ability to deliver specific, impactful, and motivating feedback for students. Here are just a few of her many 5-star  teacher reviews:

As always, professional, high-quality feedback, so helpful. Thank you, Jillian!
— Ms. Retting, Forest Park HS
Jillian left thoughtful feedback for my students. They loved how positive she was!
— Ms. McCabe, Golder College Prep
Jillian left incredibly detailed comments on the students’ essays. When my students worked on revising their essays based on her feedback, I specifically asked each one of them if they had any questions on how to apply any of her feedback. They all responded by saying that the feedback was very clear and straightforward.
— Mr. Morgan, Cupertino High School

The Road Less Traveled

Jillian grew up in a house full of doctors. From a very young age, that was the path she fully expected to follow. Throughout high school, she took as many science classes as possible until a senior year elective with her favorite English teacher opened her eyes. It was a Foreign Policy class, the first social science elective Jillian had taken. “I had never paid close attention to history or politics. I read the news, of course, because it’s important, but I never realized the tremendous impact you can have working in politics, especially foreign policy, and how important that work was. I found myself so invested in the class and the content.”

When she entered Dartmouth that fall, Jillian still planned to pursue a Biomedical major, but after another social science class, an introduction to Political Philosophy, Jillian was officially hooked. In her words, “I loved the class even more than my science classes, which I really loved as well, so that’s really saying something!” After speaking with her professor, advisors, and upperclassmen, Jillian realized her true passion and decided to pursue a degree in political science. The best part? Everything she learned in her countless STEM classes - diligence, theory, pragmatism, critical thinking, analysis - all of it translated so well to her new major and allowed her to quickly play catch-up.

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I have considered teaching as a career path so much more seriously through the fulfillment I’ve achieved working with The Graide Network. Thank you for this opportunity, I’m glad I can work for such an awesome company.

Teachers FTW!!

Working with The Graide Network has led Jillian to another eye-opening experience, and she is now considering entering into education after she graduates. (Hooray!! 🎉) “I love talking with my Political Science professors - not just about what we’re learning, but about how we’re learning. We talk about how they’re teaching the course, designing the syllabus, conveying their knowledge to their audience, refining their teaching styles and instructional practice. I love the idea of being a Political Science professor so that I can share my passion for foreign policy with others. The Graide Network has really put that perspective in my mind and shown me how powerful the teaching profession is.”

Through The Graide Network, Jillian has also had the ability to develop a number of important professional skills, especially when it comes to giving highly effective feedback. “I’ve learned how to effectively communicate with students about their work and how to give feedback that is constructive, positive, and engaging. When I first started grading, I was really wordy. I’ve learned to get the point and be clear and concise in my feedback so that students aren’t bored, lost or overwhelmed.”

She’s also loved getting to work so closely with talented young writers. Her favorite assignment this year was an AP Lit poetry analysis FRQ, which happened to be one of the questions she had on her exam as a senior!  “It was a beautiful poem about a father/son relationship. I knew the poem, I had thought about it so much before, and I really thought I knew it well. But so many of the essays made me look at the poem in an entirely new perspective. It was so interesting to read such creative work and see so many different portrayals and interpretations.”

Thank you, Jillian!

From all of us at The Graide Network - our team, our teachers, and most importantly our students - thank you! We are so grateful for you and excited to celebrate you as our May Graider of the Month.

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P.S. Want to become a superstar Graider like Jillian? Her #1 tip is save your work and take notes along the way! “There are times when you’ve crafted a concise, clear, perfectly worded comment and you refresh the page and its gone. That is the worst!” Jillian recommends keeping a Note or Google Doc open on the computer, and as you’re reading a student’s essay, take notes on the side to keep comments in mind and stay focused. This will help you meet time estimates and work faster, too.