CEL MEMBER: NATALIE CRONEY
Bowling Green High School
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Meet Natalie Crowley, teacher of English language arts speech and debate coach at Bowling Green High School! Natalie shares her insights on teaching and leadership and what CEL offers her as a professional.
Tell us about your experiences as an English language arts teacher and leader.
I have worked for three years as a sophomore and senior English language arts teacher at Bowling Green High School in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I teach collaborative and regular levels for both grades as well as the college preparatory courses of senior English.
I coach the school’s speech and debate team, co-lead the high school’s vertical alignment initiative for the English program, and participate in the Kentucky Department of Education Writing Program Advisory Committee.
What keeps you engaged with CEL members and current issues in our profession?
In a time when many professional organizations have been reduced to a mere web
presence, CEL has maintained its humanity. CEL is comprised of professionals who have
faces that are called to memory along with the names. I know that if I need help with a concept
or support with a new initiative, I could contact the competent educators of CEL and receive
The members strive for excellence in education and effectiveness in leadership. This push
toward excellence and effectiveness keeps me engaged.
Describe an exciting moment in teaching that reminded you why you teach.
I had a student who struggled throughout his year of senior English. Though he was polite
and an excellent visionary, his reading and communication skills were subpar. He desired to
learn, but often grew frustrated with the process.
It pained me to watch him struggle with the material. I insisted that he read complex material,
learn how to ask the right questions, and write coherent sentences. The material was higher
than anything he’d ever been asked to do. There were times when I wondered if pushing him
that hard was right to do (I didn’t want to break his spirit). I wondered if he understood why I
pushed so diligently.
At the end of the year, I looked on my desk and saw a bright orange card which read, “All happy
. . . all smiles . . . all grateful.” In the card, he thanked me for pushing him in his work. At
that moment, every tutoring session, battle for excellence, and individual pep rally was worth
it. Students like him are why I teach.
Tell us something humorous about yourself.
People laugh at me because they assume that my deadpan expression is induced by a witty,
sarcastic nature instead of profound confusion. I oblige them.