About Ms. Finch

Click Here to see why I love being a teacher

Professional Education    

    I began my professional education at San Jose State University as a journalism major; however, after much consideration, I changed my major to English in preparation for teaching. At San Jose State, I took multicultural literary classes, creative writing classes, and professional writing classes. In Spring of 2014, I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in English, minored in Creative Writing, and graduated with honors.

In my last semester, I won 3rd place in the prestigious 2014 James D. Phelan Literary Awards for short story fiction writing. My short historical fiction story entitled “The Silver Bracelet” is about fictional characters affected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. My goal is to one day expand this story into a novella.

I also worked as a copy editor for San Jose State’s Reed literary magazine, the oldest literary journal west of the Mississippi River. While on the copy-editing team, I worked collaboratively with other students and professionals to create a literary magazine of fiction, non-fiction, art, and poetry.

After earning my degree, I continued my education at San Jose State in their Single Subject Credential program. In the program, I learned how to scaffold my instruction to students of all learning types, from English learners to students with IEP plans. Under the university advisement of Connie Yurkovich and Lois Hamor, I grew in areas such as classroom management, classroom instruction, and professionalism.

Since completing my Credential program, I have enhanced my teaching profession by taking professional development classes through Mount Pleasant Elementary School District, San Jose Unified School District, Campbell Union High School District, and the San Jose Area Writing Project. My Single Subject Preliminary Credential will be cleared by the end of the 2017-2018 school year.


Teaching Experience

I started my teaching career at Saratoga High School as a color guard and dance instructor. Under the wing of Michael Boitz, Music Department Chair, and Tony Crapo, Director of Color Guard, I developed my teaching techniques in the performing arts for four years. This is where I found my passion for teaching. In this program, I taught to high school students the basics of dance, marching, and color guard. My teaching techniques have led my students to many awards and achievements.

Then, under the teaching mentorship of Shannon Giovannoli, I refined my academic teaching skills in areas such as English Language Development and 9th through 10th grade English Language Arts at Pioneer High School for a year during my phase I, II, and III Student Teaching. At Pioneer HS, I worked collaboratively with the English department and my mentor to teach EDI and common core aligned skill-based units and lessons. Though not required of me, I often observed and participated in helping Shannon Giovannoli teach Journalism.

After receiving my Single Subject Teaching Credential, I was asked to teach at Leland High School for a teacher on medical leave by English Department Chair Kim Kelley-Lafranconi. While in the classroom, I scaffolded lessons that aligned with San Jose Unified’s Common Core Units and Explicit Direct Instruction in order to prepare students for the annual Writing Placement Assessment (WPA). While there, I worked closely with Special Education staff, Behavior Counselors, and administration to create a more positive learning environment than had been set previously.

I began my professional teaching career at August Boeger Middle School, under the mentorship of Leo DeMarco, Student Advisor (VP) Maurissa Koide, and Principal Mia Cruz. Under their mentorship, I learned new strategies from the AVID program and the school’s new ELA curriculum Expeditionary Learning (EL Education) to incorporate into my classroom to increase engagement, collaborate learning, and rigor. I also was able to build the Journalism 12-week elective. The journalism class went from a short one page spread to a full 8 page spread, including sections for Campus News, Sports, Feature, Opinion, and Entertainment. I was able to collaborate with the 8th grade Social Studies teacher and 8th grade CORE teacher to create Project Based Learning assignments to enhance student collaborative learning. Also, while at Boeger, I collaborated with the 8th grade RSP team to create a more equitable program for students in Special Education for my Language Arts and Journalism classrooms. While at Boeger, I participated in the New Teacher Project for my first year of clearing my credential.   


Currently, I work at Westmont High School where I teach 9th and 10th grade English. As well, I coach the Junior Varsity Swim Team. I meet weekly with my Induction Program Mentor Niki Hinds to review my classroom curriculum, teaching strategies, and classroom management. Working at Westmont has allowed me to have creative freedom to create my own curriculum to teach Common Core State Standards and College and Career Readiness.