Julia is a senior at the University of Cincinnati, studying geography and philosophy. She’s distinguished herself as a Graider this semester, delivering highly effective feedback to students and teachers across the country.
Julia has truly had nationwide impact, supporting classrooms in Atlanta, Houston, and St. Louis and all the way to Phoenix. We are thrilled to acknowledge Julia this month and share a little more about her and what’s drawing her to education.
In addition to being an all-star Graider, Julia is also a classically trained cellist and competes in mock trial. In her spare time, she coaches the local high school mock trial team and teach cello lessons. Next year, she will be heading to the Bay Area to begin her two year service as a Teach for America 2019 corps member.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Julia and learning more about her experience this year as a Graider, as well as her next step of graduating and becoming a teacher.
That’s a lot of mock trial! How did you end up coaching mock trial for your high school?
I participated in mock trial at my high school all four years. Later, when my coach moved away, I offered to come back occasionally and help out. I ended up in charge, so I have served as the head of the Oak Hills Mock Trial coaching staff for the past two years. The team has a rotating teacher advisor, but they needed someone who could be a constant. Mock trial is a complicated game that many people don’t know a lot about. I don’t know which I like better - teaching mock trial or competing. It’s a lot of fun watching the kids I’ve taught stand up and deliver speeches and cross examinations.
This experience teaching kids prompted my interest in applying to Teach for America and becoming a teacher after I graduate. That’s also why I started tutoring more and working with The Graide Network - I want to make absolutely sure I am prepared to go into the classroom next fall.
We love that go-getter attitude. What have you learned from grading so far?
After I started grading, I got a lot better at recognizing trends instead of focusing on individual mistakes. Noticing overall things that students can work on rather than minute details of their writing. I also learned how to hyper-focus on the exact wording in the prompt. A lot of errors are the result of students not understanding what is expected of them. Sometimes, students will even comment that while they understood the passage, they didn’t understand what they were supposed to do next.
What are you hoping to accomplish when you start teaching?
When I go into my school, I am hoping to first establish connections with more advanced teachers to gain the mentorship I will need as a first-year teacher. As a side note, it was cool to receive a message through The Graide Network from a teacher I worked with who also did Teach for America. For my students, I hope to be a model to show them that you can get a college degree and do a lot of different things with your life. For me, I hope to go to law school after teaching.
Can you describe your grading process?
I always start by reading the prompt a couple of times. Then, I read two to three student responses to get feel for the level they are at. Then, I start writing some feedback for their strengths and growths. I find that the more responses I grade, I see more of the trends, and I gain a better understanding of what assignment is asking for.
Thank you, Julia!
We are grateful to work with hundreds of amazing Graiders and are especially pleased to recognize our November Graider of the Month, Julia. From mock trial to cello to giving students specific feedback to help them grow, we’re confident Julia will tackle her time teaching with her hallmark tenacity, analytical ability and learning mindset.