English Classes: Appreciating the Power of Words

“Words are powerful, so choose them wisely!” is what English classes swear by.


Weilin Chu

Mrs. Moran enthusiastically joins her students’ discussion as they work on a group poster, to help them take their analytic skills to the next level.

Peek into an English classroom and you’re likely to see students-turned-detectives analyzing details and watching for clues in some author’s argument. The English classroom boasts a cozy and laid-back environment, as students are encouraged to relax and think creatively about thought-provoking texts like Brave New World and The Great Gatsby.

The teachers are passionate in helping students grow as readers, writers, and thinkers. Ms. Skidmore says; “I love to team teach English 11 with Ms. Basham. We read the best works (Beowulf, Macbeth, Lord of the Flies), get to talk about topics that really matter to our students, and partake in fun activities like sword-fighting and treasure-hunting. It’s also awesome being able to work with a colleague who is so invested in teaching and building a community in the classroom.” It really shows dedication when these teachers make the effort to collaborate with each other as well as plan out-of-the-box activities for their students to enjoy.

But let’s not forget about public speaking, as even though it is a tad different from other English classes, it wholly deserves its spot in the English Department. In Public Speaking, students conquer their fears in a friendly and creative environment, as they write and present different types of speeches; from how-tos to existing monologues. Of course, the class would not be complete without a humorous teacher like Mr. Sislian. “A kid punched the phone off the wall and told me I deserved an F in teaching,” he says when asked for a funny story that happened in his class.

Punching phones aside, all these classes share one thing in common: teaching students to think critically and wield words to better express their ideas.