In high school, I was a book-wormy over-achiever, a stretch-too-thinner, student body governmenter, hang out with the Assistant Principal (Hey Mrs. Lacy, if you’re reading this), Susie High School. So because I loved high school so much, I vowed I would never go back. How lame would it be if I spent my life in high school?

Of course, in a little more than a month, I will step into a high school classroom again. I won’t be any taller than I was in high school. I won’t really look much different than I did in high school. I will still pack my lunch. I will still be a nerd.

But this time, as I step into the high school classroom, I will be the teacher. The classroom will be mine.

So much for convictions.

Here’s the thing: I got a rush from doing my homework. I sat in the front row. I got along with and obeyed most of my teachers (except Mr. Svendson. We had issues). So now I am teaching English, and  all the activities that I have planned sound really fun, but they might only sound fun because I am a high school loving English Geek.

So now I am launching heavy duty into my classroom planning, and yeah, I am starting to freak out a little.  I want to hear from YOU. All of you. Whether you loved high school, but especially if you hated it.

Tell me what your teachers (specifically English, if possible) did to make your high school heavenly or hellish. 

You best believe this is going on my wall. 

  1. Jul 12, 2012

    So exciting! I'm setting up my classroom right now, and it's so excited, but also scary. And my students are 10 years old, which is way different. Where are you teaching?

  2. Jul 12, 2012
    Kirsten Wiemer

    so i loved/hated high school, but really. ummm i really liked my teachers that were upfront and didn't treat us like children. kind of like we were like them. i liked nice teacher too. i don't know, that totally isn't helpful. but i think the harry potter thing will help 🙂


  3. Jul 12, 2012

    I was lucky enough to have really remarkable teachers who were also remarkable people. I had three teachers (one in elementary school and two high school English teachers) who really changed my life–they told me I was smart and talented, and so I was.

    They had a lot of varied qualities, but really one commonality. They taught me and my classmates like we were thirty years old (even though we were twelve, fifteen, and seventeen). They conversed with us like our opinions had weight. They did not shy away from controversial books or difficult topics. They let us into their lives and they told us what they thought about each text, but only after we had decided and expressed what we thought. They expected us to be adults. We knew the expectations were high, and so we rose to meet them.

    You'll be a wonderful teacher Sierra! Excited for you.

  4. Jul 12, 2012

    My high school English teacher gave me a voice I never knew I had. She read all the best writing out loud to the class but never told us the authors' names. She read my writing more often than not and I slowly came to realize in that safe environment that I had something to say that was worthy of her listening heart.

    You will do great, Sierra, besides, great teachers run in your family!

  5. Jul 12, 2012
    Sadie Crookston

    Ok. I actually started homeschool because I hated my english/math teachers so much. I think it was mainly a personality thing, they were the middle-aged glasses-chain type whose pants were always neatly pressed and matched their cardigan. In short, they didn't have much of a personality, and if I didn't understand something they were impossible to get help from.

    I don't think you need to worry about being like that.

    My favorite teachers – i took electives at school – were the ones who obviously felt comfortable in the classroom. They talked to the class more like they were talking to their peers, they were the teachers who had students visit their classroom during lunch.

    You are going to be amazing. You love your subject, and your students will love your enthusiasm. Also, you classroom decorations on pinterest are legit.

  6. Jul 12, 2012
    Katie Ann Robinson

    ugh… Svendson.

    I have no idea what you are freaking out about! I know you are going to be a fabulous teacher Sierra… Mostly because you will make everything fun!

    Just don't be like Ms. Dunn from 7 Green at Deer Creek…

  7. Jul 12, 2012

    Loved the Svendson joke – EVERYONE had a problem with him. 🙂

  8. Jul 12, 2012

    AHH! I forgot about her! Sierra…just thinking about those two teachers HAS to make you feel better about all of this. 🙂

  9. Jul 12, 2012

    Good luck teaching high school! You sound like you would be great teacher. Haha, I can't believe you hung out with the assistant principal.

    I had trouble with my freshman honors english teacher in high school. No matter how much effort I put in, I got bad grades (writing isn't easy for me), but some of the papers I submitted were actually really good. I got frustrated and told my mom no matter what I did I couldn't get a decent grade. My mom CALLED my teacher during school the next day and told her about my dilemma. So after class the teacher asked me to stay behind. yikes. She sat me down and told me I just didn't look like I cared about the class and that I LOOKED like a B student. seriously. I almost peed my pants during this conversation. But from then on I got more fair grades. So theres that.

  10. Jul 12, 2012

    Not my highschool English teacher, but Mrs. Richau, my eighth grade teacher was amazing. She was passionate, creative, and knew about the best music and books that we should all read.

    My highschool English teachers were each cool in a different way. One emphasized grammar and the importance of syntax (which I use daily as a deaf educator), another shared a love of great literature, and incorporated reenactments and movie clips that referenced said literature, and my junior/senior English teacher was the best. She was passionate, and treated us like adults, but also was an amazing storyteller. Sometimes her stories would be about something insanely absurd that happened (you could not make up half the things that actually happened to her); and sometimes she'd conjure up an image in your mind. It really improved my comprehension and love of reading.

  11. Jul 12, 2012

    I know how you feel. I am beginning to prepare to teach Utah Studies and US History for the first time. I had prepared my scope and sequence for both before meeting with my mentor. He really liked how I had spaced out my Utah Studies units over the year…but then he told me that Utah Studies is only half a year and science is the other half…and that typically he only gets to right before Utah became a state. So the students don't get a full year's worth of Utah studies and they only half the history. Now I have to find a way to condense all of that into half a year but still have some depth! Aack!

  12. Jul 12, 2012
    Sierra Penrod

    Ahaha Katie, I forgot about her completely. I shall do my best.

    Alyssa…yeah… a little.

  13. Jul 12, 2012

    English was my absolute FAVORITE! Seriously, my junior year I took AP English Language, and it stands as my favorite class that I've ever taken. To this very day. My teacher was incredible–she was so sincerely enthusiastic about the material that we covered that it kind of…I don't know, gently lead us over to see the beauty of good writing, you know? She never cared much for grades, it was pretty easy to get an A in her class, but we wanted to learn and do really well anyway. We didn't want to disappoint her. She was so willing to help any of us, and a bit of a pushover, but because she cared so much most of us didn't dare take advantage of that. Seriously, Mrs. Van Orden was my second mother, and she has absolutely changed my life. Just be you–be your fun, insightful, goofy self. Tell random stories, go off on unrelated tangents, teach them about the beauty of life. Show to them that sometimes the best thing you can do for your soul is to just appreciate beauty in all forms, including good writing. But don't get too hung up on going over every single detail. The material itself will find a way to be covered, but I think that high school kids, more than anything, just need someone to show them how to appreciate what they've been given.

    Best of luck! I'm sure you'll be fantastic! Keep us all posted on your adventures!

  14. Jul 13, 2012

    The best teachers were the ones that encouraged me and helped me. The worst ones were the ones who thought we were all just dumb high school students. You can tell when a teacher is being genuine or not. I'm sure you will be a great teacher!

    Love the poster 🙂