Class of: 2011
After finishing up my student-teaching semester and graduating from Carroll in 2010, I was hired to teach English at Helena High School in Helena, Montana. That's where I am now: teaching sophomores and juniors at Helena High and facing, daily, the difficult challenges and little triumphs that make up the life of a new educator. It's hard work, but there's something indescribably special about sharing great words and stories with young people, introducing them to, among so many other literary delights, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, the poetry of Whitman and Dickinson, Truman Capote's non-fiction novel In Cold Blood, the funny-yet-serious novels of Sherman Alexie, and The Maltese Falcon-Dashiell Hammett's noir masterpiece.
The Languages and Literature Department at Carroll was both the training ground for my future profession and the support network I needed to get there. My professors taught and encouraged me to write, speak, and express myself thoughtfully and powerfully. I was able, during my time at Carroll, to participate in an internship with the Helena Festival of the Book, to work with student colleagues to organize the Carroll Literary Festival, and to visit numerous secondary English classrooms in Helena. I got a real taste of the work an educator can and must do, both in the classroom and in the wider community. I feel the experiences I had as an English Education major at Carroll filled me with a confidence to take on the real world as well as the sometimes scary microcosm of society that is the American high school.
There's a terrible and stinging cliché often thrown at English majors: Majoring in English is like majoring in unemployment. The advice I wish all timid English majors had is to ignore the naysayers and follow your passion. Trying to understand language and how to use it is never a pointless endeavor. Humanity is bound by language, and language informs all other professions, content areas, and parts of life.