In 2008 while helping my daughter, Drew, who was very worried about flunking 9th grade English, I realized I should probably become an English teacher.
As I tutored her in 2008-09, I suddenly remembered how much I love Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, W. Somerset Maugham, William Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Walker, William Golding, Dorothy Parker, Viktor Frankl, Chinua Achebe, JD Salinger, Ernest Hemingway and Solzhenitsyn; these authors were like wise prophets who rescued me from the loneliness of my parent's divorce, when I was in high school. They also helped me wrap my head around the mysterious complexities of life.
By helping Drew academically succeed, I revisited my earlier passion for great authors and their illuminations. I read everything assigned to Drew that year and fell in love with two authors I'd never read--William Faulkner and Tim O'brien. So inspired and motivated by their gifts, I finally completed my undergraduate degree. I also went on a year-long writing spree; I wrote a novella which was picked up by a midwest publisher. Two of my short stories were handpicked for publication by the editor of The Montreal Review , and a few of my poems got published by other literary magazines. I wrote Sundance Film Festival film reviews for entertainment magazines and live-tweeted the festival for The Daily Herald.
I soon completed post-graduate World Literature and Shakespeare coursework at Adams State University, in order to qualify for a temporary ARL license. I taught 8th and 9th grade grammar in Salem, UT until 2016 when I passed both American Board Certification exams earning my Utah state license to teach secondary-level language arts in Utah. I recently upgraded that license and currently hold a professional USBE license. With it, I love to empower kids via grammar instruction and to help foster a genuine love of reading, thus a contextualized understanding of the world. My philosopy is that although culture and political eras may dramatically change, people throughout time, are still very much the same. It's a powerful and spiritual thing to pick up a book, read something written 200+ years ago and feel a human connection--to realize that somewhere someone lived halfway across the globe in 1821 and felt exactly the same way as you do right now.
I'm thrilled to be back at UCAS for my second year teaching 9H English and I look forward to meeting my new students; I'm excited to help them make sense of grammar, literature and to help them fully embrace a love of writing. I'm also focused on prepping them for the ACT in junior year.
*I happily report that Drew didn't flunk 9th grade English in 2009. In fact, a few years later while completing her undergraduate degree in English literature at BYU and then also her MFA at BYU Provo, she taught introductory freshman writing and was the Inscape magazine editor in 2019; she is now a full-time editor in NYC. My two other daughters are also BYU alumni. My oldest girl speaks Hungarian and French and currently teaches high school art in Springville. She was a BYU visiting professor in 2020-21 and still teaches a night class at BYU, Provo campus; my youngest daughter, Maya, studied wildflife conservation at BYU, manages PetSmart in Orem and has a million little pets, including a tarantula, a tree frog, two kittys, a scorpion, and a Cavalier King Spaniel named Oblio who loves to watch Animal Planet TV and who checks to make sure you're watching it with him.