Mr. Betcher brings a deep level of expertise in English and Humanities to BASIS Independent Fremont. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Reed College in 2005. His undergraduate thesis was titled The Reception History of William Faulkner, examining how the cold war and Reader’s Response Theory changed the critical and popular response to Faulkner’s work.
In 2013, Mr. Betcher earned his Master of Arts degree in the Teaching of English from the prestigious Teachers College at Columbia University. At Teachers College, Mr. Betcher had the distinct pleasure of being one of famed educational philosopher Maxine Greene’s final students. His Master’s thesis was a study of how online literature groups help students develop unique and original essays analyzing classic texts.
“My goal as a BASIS Independent Fremont educator is to help students study how to learn. As students move towards middle school they begin to take the leap from understanding to analysis. I create a classroom where we critically think about history and texts, examining the author’s craft and learning how to use the structure of language to effectively communicate our ideas,” shares Mr. Betcher.
Speaking about his decision to join BASIS Independent Fremont, Mr. Betcher says: “I chose BASIS Independent Fremont because the school promotes true learning communities. Students feel responsible for their own education, grappling with meaningful questions throughout their educational day. Students push each other to excel. I love being part of a community that grows together, my passion is helping students find theirs. Children are often underestimated, but BASIS Independent Fremont is a school that believes students are all capable of greatness.”
“My teaching philosophy is simple. I want to teach students to read, think, and express themselves. When I say ‘read’, I mean a very specific thing. I want students to engage in a conversation with the text. Students often leave elementary school with the habit of reading for an answer rather than reading for an experience. They often do not know how to push and pull the text because they have never been asked to. I also want students to read the world. Of course textual literacy is a vital skill, but finding the symbolism in a poem, or authorial intent in a novel, is ultimately less useful than being able to read the values implicit in television shows, the bias in news reports, or the persuasive nature of advertising and political speech. These activities require the same skills as engaged reading. It is important to connect the act of textual interpretation to the act of being an engaged and critical citizen. When I say ‘think’, I want students to critically engage with information. Many intelligent students I have worked with were experts at avoiding any real thought. When asked about what they thought of a story or character or math problem, they would shout out responses they thought I would want to hear, jumping from one answer to another until they realized I wasn’t going to give them the ‘right’ response. I create an English class where students have to try. I want a classroom where students get used to using their brains--thinking deeply about problems, interpretations, and themselves. When I say ‘express themselves’, I mean just that. Students must practice finding their voice and sharing their ideas in speech, writing, and creative interpretation. I want them to think analytically, persuasively, and creatively. I want them to create for themselves, their peers, their teachers, and the larger community,” says Mr. Betcher.