Teaching students to think

Published: April 10, 2007 | 5992nd good news item since 2003

Janet Glancy knows when her students need a change of scenery.

About an hour into first period, she tells the class they will be going outside to work.

“I like to bring them outside a couple of times a week,” she said. “They may be quiet in class, but when we come out here, they get very involved in the literature.”

Once outside, the students break off into groups of four and begin talking to each other about Albert Camus’ “The Stranger.” Tough reading, but necessary as she prepares her students for the Advanced Placement (AP) literature and composition exam.

Glancy knows group work is critical to her students’ understanding.

“It is an effective teaching tool,” she said. “They not only get to share what they learn, but they also hear things that they might not have thought of.”

In her 38 years of teaching, including the last 30 at Naples High School, Glancy had to learn a thing or two about adapting her classes.

But it is her ability to do so that has helped her garner the county’s top teaching prize: The Golden Apple Award.

Glancy began her teaching career at Naples High School as a science teacher, educating children on everything from botany and marine science to biology and space science.

Suddenly, she found herself without a science teaching position.

“I was covering for someone who is on leave,” she said. “I realized I was one course short of a certification in English. I have always loved literature, so I got my certification.”

Glancy has spent the last 19 years teaching AP literature and composition. But whether she is teaching AP or a regular course, Glancy said it is important to always engage students.

“I love the whole process of learning. It is a quest I am on for life. I learn continuously through my students and for my students,” she said. “It is amazing to watch the moments of recognition in their faces. I love creating independent thinkers.”

Still, it is not an easy job. Glancy has to make sure her AP students know about literature from the 1500s to poems and novels that were written a few years ago.

“They really have to be able to look at all different styles and philosophical perspectives,” she said. “On the AP exam, they might have to compare an Elizabethan poem versus a free verse poem that was written a couple of years ago.”

Glancy tackles different perspectives, too. The Thursday before spring break, her students were discussing existentialism in literature.

“I tell them that some people view the world this way. The choices of how they view the world are theirs to make,” she said.

Glancy helped start the district’s Advanced Placement Laureate Program, which allows students to earn a Laureate Diploma if they complete six or more AP courses and present a major paper to a school/community panel, among other things. She started the program in 1994.

“We started at Naples High School with three kids. It has grown to six high schools, and we have 38 students this year at Naples participating,” she said proudly. “It’s just grown exponentially in the last few years.”

Senior Lune Dormond said she appreciates Glancy’s efforts with the Laureate program.

“She will stay here until 8 o’clock at night working with us,” she said. “She is dedicated. I definitely made her stay late a couple of nights.”

Glancy smiled at the compliment, but insists she is only doing what any teacher would do.

“I love them and they know it,” she said.

Senior Kevin Tipton echoed Lune’s statements when Glancy received her award.

“She works nights, weekends,” he said. “Without her, my senior year would not be the same.”

Glancy, who has previously been recognized as Teacher of the Year, said her Golden Apple Award means that she is representing so many wonderful teachers in Collier County.

“Educators are not recognized enough for the wonderful things that they do,” she said. “I am honored to represent them.”

She is married to Donald. The couple have six children and four grandchildren.

Published in Teachers
See also: www.naplesnews.com
Inside Good News Blog