Welcome Back! This is the second part of the English Teacher Feature trilogy!


The Core Values of English


The British Study Centres stated, “one out of five people can speak or at least understand English” and additionally, “English is the most commonly spoken language in the world”.


The Core Values of English are used throughout the world in business, science, mathematics. This is because reading and writing are essential to a happy, prosperous life.


“The ability to be able to express yourself within writing and speaking will enhance your quality of life no matter what you do” said Mrs. Swartzendruber in regards to the value of English skills.


The core values of English are reflected in the standards encouraged by the College Community School District. Similarly, Mrs. Burns believes “Being willing to form your thoughts and understand that controversy exists and being able to accept one another’s perspectives.” is one value within English curriculum.


“If there is anything that I hope that by the end of the an English class students will be able to do is have difficult conversations with one another in a way that you actually listen and you actually learn.” Mrs. Burns believes.


The Effects of Writing and Reading Within Students


English is often a class that is disregarded within the student body because it is difficult to teach writing skills. It is difficult to judge creative understanding. It is difficult to teach comprehension of a text. It is difficult to teach theme, plot, character development and the many other layers of reading and writing.   


But these teachers make the impossible into an easily possible reality.


Writing an efficient, coherent piece of writing is a difficult task. But, Mrs. Swartzendruber reminds her students, “it isn’t easy, it may come easier to some, but if you keep an open mind and an open heart, we can work through anything.”


On the other hand, Mrs. Burns believes that the effects of literature within students is a result of their effort, and a fantastic ability to teach.

One aspect Mrs. Burns notices most among her students over the course of the year, “are the [changes within the] students who may be afraid to speak their opinions. At the end of the year, it’s so cool to see them able to engage in those conversation and share their thoughts eloquently.”


The Best [and most difficult] Part About Teaching English


There are highs and lows of any experience. But a steady balance between the two is always important.


According to Mrs. Swartzendruber, “the ability to be able to talk about issues that are pertinent to students within the context of speaking, writing, reading and language to help them make a connection to their life today.” is one of the greatest parts of teaching high school English.


Additionally, Mrs. Burns agrees with the idea that the relationships and conversation with students is the best part of her job. “I think it’s the ability to get to know the students in a different way.”


On the other hand, the reading and writing process is time consuming and this causes difficulty within the job.


“There is so much content and so much responsibility in doing what you can with your 100+ students, ensuring that you do your due diligence and really give them all the support that they need.” says Mrs. Swartzendruber.


In every high school, there are challenges, such as AP Language and Composition, which hold their students to higher standards.


To Mrs. Burns, “A difficult thing is to to convince students that they are capable of meeting the high expectations.” She believes, “That is something that I need to figure out how to do better so that students when they enter a class like AP, even if it is difficult at first, that they realize that it’s part of the learning process.”  


*Stay Tuned Next Week for the Third and Final Part of the English Teacher Series*


One comment

  1. Megan, another great journalistic piece featuring contributions of PHS teachers. I appreciate your approach as a 3 part series with these stories. You have created a space to hear the voices of the teachers who are immersed in the content at the center of your story. Great balance between the contributions of both educators–this is a compelling series!

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