Dear Students (and Parents too!),
Hello! 😀 My name is Ms. Jessica Hanks, and I am going to have the pleasure of teaching English during the upcoming school year. As of last spring, I am the proud holder of a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education along with a coaching endorsement in volleyball, basketball, and track from Chadron State College. Since I was itty bitty I knew that I wanted to be a teacher (my Grandpa was a superintendent, my Grandma was a history teacher, my Dad is a high school principal) and with a longstanding love for reading and writing, it was and is clear to me that English is my passion. I am so excited to embark on this journey with you all.
Right off the bat, there is one thing I want you all to know; this class may be different from other English courses you’ve taken before. I know what you might be thinking… Oh dear, what is this wonky woman up to? What I mean is that I’m not in the business of teaching writing, but rather teaching the writer. I am a firm and fast believer that education is a living, breathing thing because of the people— like you and I— who take part in it. As a result, it is important to me to have you understand that I recognize each and every one of you as the unique, incredible individuals that you are.
Some of you already love English, and some of you love math; some of you would rather play football all day, and some of you could tell me every detail of your favorite show on Netflix; some of you might be true crime buffs like me, and others still might have passions that lie in an obscure field like horology (the art of making clocks). How AMAZING is that? Each of you will have interests that are special to you, and it is my hope to create a class that allows you to mold the English language to suit each of your individual needs.
What I want for each of you is to start on the journey of finding your own writing voice through your own writing process. In order to accomplish this, we are going to be exploring a variety of different types of writing this year. Poems, research papers, short stories, creative non-fiction, personal narratives, descriptive essays, flash fiction, journaling… anything and everything. I’m not asking you to love the assignments, or writing in general, but I will ask for you to engage with the English language. My goal is to equip you with tools that allow you to communicate your passions with the world because it is what is behind the writing that is truly important— your ideas, thoughts, opinions… you!
I will leave you all with a short list that summarizes my theory and principles of teaching writing:
1.) Everyone should have the ability to share their voice with the world through the written word because so many before us have not had that opportunity.
2.) Teaching writing is about nurturing what is already in students, the individuality that makes them human.
3.) It is fine to make mistakes, because what matters are the ideas that inspire students.
4.) Writing is messy, writing is emotional, writing is personal, writing is an art, and writing means something different to each and every person. This is a beautiful thing.
I hope each of you are as excited for English class as much as I am, but if you aren’t, hey, no worries. With the written word, it is to each their own. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any queries, comments, concerns, or short anecdotes. I am here for each of you, and to help each of you succeed in your own way.
Without further ado, here’s to a new adventure!