•     Bullies Beware                           
     
                                     Renée Lewin
                                     Duxbury Middle School
                                     7th and 8th Grade English
                                     Rlewin@duxbury.k12.ma.us
     
    Mission for my classes:
    My mission for my class is to provide an intellectually stimulating environment where students are encouraged to ask the question, "Why?"  My classroom is a safe place where students are free to explore new ideas and challenge themselves.  I want my students to question themselves, others around them, and the world.  Students are encouraged to express their individuality and to accept others for their differences.  I want them to be able to ask the hard questions.  I want them to think for themselves.  If I succeed in this, then I have accomplished my mission as a teacher.
     
    About me:
    I graduated from Stonehill College in 1998 with a major in English and a minor in Secondary Education.  In 2007 I earned my Masters degree in English from Middlebury College.  From 1998-1999 I taught in the Taunton Public School system.  In 1999, I came to Duxbury and I have been so happy to teach here.
     
    When people ask me what do I do for a living, and I tell them that I teach middle school English, they say, "Wow!  You must be brave.  Middle school is the WORST age."  And I say to them, "No.  You are very wrong.  Middle school is the BEST age."
     
    Middle school students are intelligent, curious, and funny.  They are enthusiastic, eager, and open.  They are a lot kinder than they are given credit for being.  They make me laugh every day.  I am very lucky to have a job where I work with individuals who are so open to new ideas, who are creative in their thinking, and who have an amazing sense of humor.
     
    Literature opens the door to conversations about human nature.  Books often serve as thinly veiled warnings about what can happen if we make poor choices and don't think about how our actions affect others.  They also can teach us about the kindness and compassion that the world can hold.  Middle school students embrace the literature we read and come away, I hope, with a better understanding of life.
     
    Random facts about me:
     
    I read constantly.  I also make a point to read young adult fiction so I can offer reading suggestions to my students.  And just because it is young adult, it does not mean it is not good. I can't stand when people stick their literary noses in the air and sneer at YA fiction.  Read John Green or David Levithan or Marcus Zusak and then get back to me.
     
    I have two cats, Finn and Sawyer.  I tend to give my pets literary names.  I wonder why.  They are amazing and have extra toes.  It's awesome. It would be even more awesome if they used their extra toes to fold clean laundry.  But they don't. They just lie in it instead.
     
    I think Vermont is the best place in the world.  Front porches, verdant meadows, fireflies dancing on summer nights, rivers waiting to be jumped in, the reds, yellows, and oranges in the leaves, crisp winter nights smelling like fireplaces...  Good stuff.
     
    I also am a fan of the beach.  Which is another reason why Duxbury is so appealing.  Although, I would like to have a discussion with the ocean here.  I think it needs bigger waves.  And it should be a few degrees warmer.  Just saying.
     
    I think DMS has an amazing faculty.  They are warm, compassionate, and quite often hilarious. You are very lucky to have them. I am lucky to have them. It would be an understatement to say that it is nice to work with friends.
     
    I love crime shows.  CSI, CSI: New York, CSI: Miami, Hawaii Five-O, Criminal Minds, Castle, Dexter, Sherlock (oh, if you haven't seen the genius that is the BBC's version of Sherlock you need to remedy that immediately.  Your life will be better.  I promise.)  Sometimes I think that I would be a great crime scene investigator.  And then I remember something.  I don't do well with blood. 
     
    When I was a little kid I wanted to be a chocolate ice cream eating ballerina.  I think I saw an episode of "Sesame Street" where there was this beautiful ballerina dressed in pink tulle dancing around a stage eating a carton of chocolate ice cream.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.  As I got older, I realized this most likely wouldn't happen. How many ballerinas do you see that eat gallons of chocolate ice cream while dancing in pointe shoes?
     
    So now I do CrossFit.  CrossFit and ballet are two very different animals. Instead of bloody toes from pointe shoes, I have torn hands from pull ups and kettlebell swings. 
     
    When I was in middle school I wanted to be a veterinarian.  Although I worked at a vet's office for nine years, I didn't become a vet.  Obviously.  Remember the blood?
     
    Oh, and.....
    Hurdles!
     
    Okay, maybe not so much.