The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Writing Teacher, Dr. Mike Boyd, Leads By Example

By Steve Stein Of the Peoria Journal Star

MORTON - Morton High School teacher Mike Boyd has all the write stuff.

He's won school awards twice for his teaching excellence, he's earned a doctorate degree in English studies from Illinois State University, and he's a published author.

Boyd's by-line appeared for the third time last month.

He combined with Bob Broad, an English instructor at ISU, to write an article that appeared in the Journal of Writing Assessment. It was titled "Rhetorical Writing Assessment: The Practice and Theory of Complementarity."

Boyd's first article was published in 2004 in the Illinois English Bulletin, produced by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English.

Along with the eight other founding members of the Illinois State Portfolio Assessment of Writing Project, Boyd wrote an article promoting the replacement of the state's timed impromptu writing test with a portfolio judged by writing teachers.

Boyd's second article was published a year later. "The Literary Canon Debate: Challenging Students To Consider the Cultural Significance of Literature" was printed in the English Journal of the National Council of Teachers of English.

Even though Boyd, 32, wasn't paid for any of the articles, he feels there are other career benefits from being published.

"Academic writing often isn't lucrative, but it's important to stay current in your discipline and help it move forward," he said.

"Being published also helps my credibility as a classroom teacher. If I want to help my students become better writers, I have an obligation to keep writing myself."

Boyd teaches freshman language arts and upperclass expository writing and world literature at Morton. For the second year, the expository writing course is a dual credit class with Illinois Central College.

Morton Assistant Principal Troy Teater is impressed with Boyd's versatility in the classroom.

"Mike is academically inclined, as you can tell from his doctorate and published articles, but he's also very down-to-earth with the kids," Teater said. "He works well with the most advanced students at our school as well as freshmen."

Boyd earned Morton's ACE - A Commitment to Excellence - award in 2000 and 2003. Students who are ACE winners themselves nominate teachers for the honor.

"It was great to get those votes of confidence," Boyd said. "They were reminders that it's important to achieve what you set about doing."

Boyd has been at Morton all eight years of his teaching career. The Washington resident also is in his second year teaching composition and humanities courses to freshmen and sophomores at ICC.

"Teaching at both schools makes my life busy, but I make time," he said.

Besides the obvious age and experience disparities, Boyd has noticed other differences between high school and college students.

"College students are more inquisitive. They see the complexities of concepts and embrace them," he said. "They also often think outside the box. High school students tend to want to meet the criteria and move on."

Boyd also earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Illinois State. He's halfway home to getting an administrative endorsement from ISU, but he said he isn't looking to move into administration just yet.

"I'm happy to be in the classroom," he said.

Dr. Mike Boyd, a 1992 graduate of La Harpe High School, is the son of Mike and Janet Boyd of rural Burnside and the grandson of Glenn and Esther Boyd of La Harpe. He and wife Maureen have three children Michael 7, Maddie 2 1/2, and Milana 1 1/2.