Why I Love Teaching English

One of the cool things about being an Education Major at Nyack is that the School of Education, and Nyack in general, cares about developing you as a person throughout your college career. That was one of the joys of my college experience, and one of the ways God worked through my time at Nyack. One of the ways the School of Education does this is by helping you figure out your calling. The faculty at Nyack care about why you’re in your major.

They want you to untangle for yourself why you’re sitting in their classes.

It makes you own what you’re doing. It makes you confident that God is going to see you through your calling.

That’s huge on late nights when you’re studying for finals, and suddenly college is hard, hard work. It gives you perseverance.

Admittedly, I came to Nyack as an English Ed. Major because of a simple passion for literature and writing, and a love for working with middle school kids. That was about as deep as my reasoning went, but during my time at school that reasoning took root and began to change, grow.

Student teaching really helped with that.

During student teaching, I realized that teaching English gave me two distinct opportunities as a caring citizen and as a Christian. Suddenly I had a fire for what I was doing.

I realized that being an English teacher meant that I had the opportunity to teach kids critical thinking skills. Thinking about Shakespeare’s word choices, untangling Robert Frost’s poems, and understanding why Hope fights so persistently in Hope Was Here are ways that I watched students grapple to critically think about our texts. If you understand how to critically think about your world, there is less chance that it will overcome you, and there is more chance that you will learn how to change it. Critical thinking draws us away from the ills of groupthink, of blindly following the majority. Citizens who critically think change society.

I also realized that being an English teacher gave me an amazing opportunity as a Christian. This might sound crazy, because in the public school system you cannot talk about matters of faith. However, when we teach truth we are teaching the words of God, whether or not we are teaching Jeremiah or Shakespeare.

That’s not a trendy idea, that an ancient, Augustinian idea.

I watched this happen while teaching Othello during student teaching. We unraveled human nature throughout our study of the play. We talked about how envy and jealousy corrupts the individual and then the community. This was the discussion for weeks and weeks, and the discussion became personalized by the end of my time there. How does envy and jealousy begin in us? How does it wreck our communities? You’re saying nothing about Christ, not a word, and yet you have explained the hardest part of the Gospel–that we are fallen humanity filled with sin and grief. You’ve introduced a need for redemption. You leave students with questions, and you trust the Holy Spirit to perhaps one day move the rest.

These two reasons are why I don’t mind the idea of getting up early 180 days a year, or eking out my years standing at a copier. To me these reasons are fuel and fire for God’s calling in my life. What are your reasons?  

Kassie Neumann

About Kassie Neumann

Midwest native and Adolescent English Education Major at Nyack College. I thrive on poetry, mentoring, deep conversations, and really loud laughter. I believe that Christ, community, and cups of tea can restore the world. Wonder and mystery are two of my favorite words.
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2 Responses to Why I Love Teaching English

  1. Kassie,
    You have wonderfully expressed the joy of “Teaching Christianly”. I feel privileged to have been along to see you become the outstanding English teacher you already have become.
    Blessings,
    Dr. Nichols

  2. Emily Gonzalez says:

    “If you understand how to critically think about your world, there is less chance that it will overcome you, and there is more chance that you will learn how to change it.”

    Favorite line of this post. It is so important to critically think for ourselves, and to inspire others to do the same by the way in which we represent ourselves in the avenues in which God has placed us. Love this and love you!

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