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Kristi Latimer is in her eighth year of teaching at Tigard High School in Oregon, where she teaches international baccalaureate senior English and freshman English. She is also an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark College.
Kristi received her bachelor's degree from Reed College and her master's degree from Lewis & Clark College. After working in the nonprofit world, the revelation that she wanted to be a teacher came during coffee with one of her college professors. "When she opened her purse to fetch something, I noticed three or four novels, Post-its lining the edges, covered in her familiar handwriting. I immediately thought: 'I want my purse to look like that when I go to work.'"
So she combined her desire to help struggling kids and her love of literature and went back to school. "Returning to a high school classroom helped me reflect in new ways on my own education," Kristi says. "Growing up in a small town in Arizona, I did not always have access to the same educational opportunities that my students in Portland do. But I did have the support of family and some excellent teachers who believed in me and thought my love of language and writing might take me somewhere. I want to create a similar space for students to find their own voices, regardless of their path after high school."
Kristi recently told her students in freshman English class that she loves the constant surprises of teaching English. "No two days are the same. In fact, no lesson plans are ever the same, regardless of how carefully I write them. Once the students arrive, they bring themselves to the lessons and push my initial ideas. I also love that texts I have taught for years become new when a student notices something I have never seen. Their ideas remind me of the power of language. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the face of a student who finally 'gets it,' especially when 'getting it' means finally finding his or her voice as a writer."
Kristi enjoys yoga, writing poetry, traveling, and spending time with her two children.