English Major Concentration: Teacher Licensure
Current Position: High School English Teacher
Upon my graduation, I immediately entered the workplace feeling well prepared to handle any situation my job (and life) threw at me. I taught for three years at a rural school in eastern North Carolina before moving to Raleigh to continue teaching. In my first year of teaching, my school chose me to lead my department’s focus on implementing technology effectively and ethically in the classroom and sent me to earn my M. Ed to help me in this position. I spent the rest of my time there occupying various leadership positions, including coordinating the school’s Graduation Project requirement for around 1,000 students. I currently teach in an academically rigorous public high school in Raleigh.
Did your degree in English with a concentration in teacher licensure prepare you for your professional career?
I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am today if it weren’t for Elon. One of the major focuses of my time at Elon was on fostering the development of my leadership abilities, and I distinctly remember a professor requiring—although I definitely saw it as forcing at the time—us to teach a lesson on a course novel for Advanced World Literature. I never felt more out of my comfort zone than when I “took the stage” at the front of the room and began my lesson on one of the most difficult novels I had ever read. I half expected gibberish to come out of my mouth. It didn’t, thankfully. It wasn’t the first time I had been in front of my peers (thanks, Teaching Fellows), but I look back on that assignment as the first time I was truly challenged academically. I learned about, was inspired, failed at, and succeeded in understanding the discipline of English and teaching it from some of the most insightful and encouraging professors, and I attempt to infuse the passion I learned from them into my own curriculum each day.
Quite simply, my Elon education has given me the skills I need to succeed inter- and intra-personally. I entered Elon as a timid freshman and graduated with the confidence and ability I need to survive and thrive as a high school teacher.
Is there value in an English degree?
Sadly, English degrees are incredibly underrated. They produce Renaissance men and women who are able to adapt to any situation, from the historical, to the symbolic, to the experimental. English majors understand the implications of context, can solve problems in unique ways, and are able to empathize with humanity’s suffering and its joy. They are prepared to work in almost any field and thrive in all that value communication skills.
What was your best experience as an English major?
I’m honestly not sure how to choose just one. Being one of only a few in my concentration allowed me many humanizing experiences with my advisor, and I often lament not being able to walk to the next building and sit down in her office and chat about work and life. She pushed me to be confident in my own abilities and trusted my ideas when I didn’t trust them myself. I also remember the passion I felt for one of the only courses I took at 8 a.m. and actually enjoyed: History of the English Language. It combined my passions for context, literature, and humanity and allowed me to focus an extended period of time on a research project that fused these previously mentioned passions with my incredible study abroad experience in London. I remember sitting in my professor’s office feeling legitimately giddy about discussing dialects, and I don’t know that I’d been quite that excited about anything before. Well, except for maybe being accepted at Elon, of course!
Any advice for English majors?
Don’t stick to courses just in one concentration! Take them all! Especially History of the English Language.
“I remember sitting in my professor’s office feeling legitimately giddy about discussing dialects, and I don’t know that I’d been quite that excited about anything before. Well, except for maybe being accepted at Elon, of course!”