Mrs. Maureen Becker » Welcome to my teacher page!

Welcome to my teacher page!

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About Me
This year will be my seventeenth year of teaching; it'll be my sixth at BOYCP.  I LOVE teaching here because of the amazing, bright, and capable students and the smart, dedicated, thoughtful colleagues I have!  I earned my Master of Education in Instructional Leadership (concentration in Literacy, Language, and Culture) from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007, where I had previously graduated summa cum laude with my Bachelor of Arts in Teaching of English (minor in Spanish Language and Literature) in 2004.  I consider myself a lifelong learner; I was a Yale National Initiative Fellow in 2016, and I have taken courses to enhance my teaching and curriculum since I began teaching-- I'm even taking a class right now!
My husband and I have three children, ages 11, 8, and 3.  When I'm not teaching, I stay busy by keeping up with my kiddos and husband; in a normal year, that would include TONS of youth sports.  2020 has had some different plans for us all... I also love cooking and baking, reading (historical fiction, poetry, and cookbooks are favorite genres), and daydreaming about bygone days at the beach of Edisto Island.  My favorite book of all time is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and my favorite read of the summer was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
I'll be teaching English A: Literature (Higher Level) years 1 & 2 to juniors and seniors during the 2020-2021 school year.  I can't wait to reconnect with my seniors, whom I taught last year, and to become acquainted with my juniors!  
In addition to teaching English, I also co-sponsor BOYCP's Poetry Club and am a coach for its related competitive poetry slam team, the Bombcats; the Bombcats last competed in Louder than a Bomb at Vittum Theatre in Wicker Park in March 2020.  BOOM! 
"And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom."
~Anaïs Nin
I cannot WAIT to connect with you all virtually on September 8!  While I know that this year poses some challenges as we work in the remote setting, I could not be more excited to meet and to work with you!  The anchor texts this year include Jhumpa Lahiri's novel The Namesake, Edmond Rostand's famous tragicomedic drama Cyrano de Bergerac, a set of selected short stories by Anton Chekhov, a set of selected poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Henrik Ibsen's drama A Doll's House, Khalil Gibran's book of prose-poetry fables The Prophet, and a biography by Jeff Hobbs titled The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.  I will also help you to prepare for the SAT, write initial drafts of your academic résumé and personal statement essay (important components for college applications), and become comfortable with the conceptual ideas behind the IB assessments for English A: Literature.  Please expect to use Google Classroom and Google Suite (you'll use Slides and Docs most frequently for this course); also, check your CPS email daily during the school year.  You can expect that I will also use those same tools as well as check my email regularly; additionally, I will be using a great tool called Pear Deck, which should help us to have a better, more personalized 1:1 experience than the full Google Meet classroom platform.
I am so looking forward to reconnecting with you all!  I have news to share about changes to the May 2021 English A: Literature IB exams, and I'm looking forward to giving you additional feedback on your personal statement essays as you'll be busy applying to colleges and universities this fall; can you believe that this time next year you'll be starting your post-secondary academic studies?!  Our anchor texts this year will be Katherine Boo's creative non-fiction biography Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, William Shakespeare's tragic drama Othello, selected poetic song lyrics by Kendrick Lamar, selections from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck, and Tennessee Williams' drama A Streetcar Named Desire.  I'll also help you brush up on your skills as you prepare for the rescheduled SAT in addition to supporting you through all of the IB assessments for this course.  It's sure to be a full year!
I am available for office hours after 8th period Monday through Friday every day EXCEPT Tuesday.  Because we will start the school year remotely, please reach out to me via email to schedule office hours.



📸 Photo Credit: Brett Ryan Studios/Brett Hitchins/Courtesy VanDusen Botanical Garden
Welcome, December!  🌬️❄️✨ I just sent out December newsletters, so please check your email for updates.  I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving break with your families, and I know it's just a "taste" of good things (English teacher pun!  Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) ahead with the winter break rapidly approaching. 
Don't forget!  Today is the last day to sign up for parent-teacher conferences.  Conferences will be held Thursday, November 19, between 12 noon and 6 p.m.  Please use this link to sign up.  I'll look forward to seeing your parents next week!
Please check your email for my November newsletter, sent this morning.  Also, tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/3) AND Friday (11/6) are days off for students; tomorrow is the Election Day holiday, and Friday is a school improvement professional development day for teachers.  Enjoy the short week, Bobcats!
Please check your email for my October newsletter (sent yesterday).  If you didn't receive it and would like to be added to my mailing list, please email me.  Also, Week 5 progress reports will be submitted this week- check Aspen on Friday to view current course progress.
Happy autumn! 🍂 The season for apple cider 🍎, pumpkin pie 🥧, Halloween 🎃👻, Día de los Muertos 🇲🇽, and Thanksgiving 🍽️ is upon us.  Embrace the change. 🍁
Please check your email, parents and students, to read my September newsletter!  If you didn't receive it and would like to be added to my monthly newsletter mailing list, please email me.
Whew!  First week is in the books, Bobcats!  I hope you had a great week and enjoy a well-deserved restful weekend.  Looking forward to seeing you all on Monday! 🤩
Tomorrow is the big day, Bobcats!  If you're in my English class, you should have received a welcome letter from me in your CPS email (with our Google Classroom join code in case you weren't automatically added).  The Google Meet link for our virtual class is in the upper-left corner of our Google Classroom homepage (see photo above for visual example).  Get out and enjoy the beautiful weather today!  ☀️ We're going to have a great school year! 😎
Chromebooks 💻, English texts 📚, and other materials distribution will take place for Juniors on Wednesday, September 2, and for Seniors on Thursday, September 3, according to the schedule listed above (also in an email from me).  If you cannot make it, you may pick up your materials on Friday.  Looking forward to seeing you all on Tuesday, September 8, for the first day of school! 😎🍎