English Language Arts Panel


What is the most overrated piece of Literature? 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. – Ms. Vanisko 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Mr. Jay 

I think we spend too much time on Shakespeare -Ms. Hammersly

We need a bigger variety of literature. Because we mainly focus on American literature, when there is a whole world of it going unnoticed by us. – Ms. Nicholson 

Why did you choose to teach English Language Arts? 

I´m doing it because I love writing. I’m not particularly big on literature but I absolutely love writing. I think it’s a super important form of expressing yourself, and I think it’s so fun. – Ms. Nicholson 

I’m the same way, because it’s more than just studying books, it’s teaching you how to think, how to reason, and how to communicate logically. -Ms. Hammersly

Yeah, so, if I didn’t value everything they just said, I probably would’ve been a History teacher. Mainly because I find history so interesting, but I valued teaching kids how to write and understand. –  Ms. Vanisko

I just like working with young people. I just see so much potential, and it’s hard to look at the world negatively when I go to work and see so much hope. There is so much optimism in students, because initially I was gonna go into journalism but then I worked at Youth Ranch with kids who were bettering their lives. I just enjoy working with young people and watching them excel. – Mr. Jay 

What is the hardest part and the best part about teaching English? 

The hardest thing is teaching reading and writing. Mainly because, I have 150 students so every page I assign you, is 150 pages I have to read and grade. I do really enjoy getting to know new people and every year I get 150 new people to get to know. -Ms. Hammersly

I would agree with that, especially with being a first year teacher. However, I do really enjoy making connections with students.  – Ms. Vanisko 

My worst is also the grading of the essays, especially with the Senior research essays which are 8-10 pages. The positive part about it is, I get kids for two years and I get to see them really grow as thinkers, communicators, and as writers who can really express themselves.  – Ms. Nicholson

I get frustrated when my class doesn’t appreciate something as much as I do. On the other hand, when I have a student that really falls in love with it like I did, that’s a big bonus for me. – Mr. Jay 

What’s your favorite thing to teach in ELA? 

Argument Writing -Ms. Hammersly

Argumentative Writing  – Ms. Nicholson

I actually really enjoy teaching Romeo and Juliet – Mr. Jay 

I haven’t been teaching for very long, so I don’t really have a specific favorite thing to teach.  – Ms. Vanisko 

Who is your favorite writer and what is your favorite book written by them? Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice.  – Ms. Vanisko 

Brendon Sanderson, and The Way Of Kings -Ms. Hammersly

George R. R. Martin, and the Game of Thrones.  – Ms. Nicholson

I really enjoy Slam Poets who just get up and bleed into the microphone. – Mr. Jay 

Are Books important? 


There have been studies that show that reading makes you more empathetic   – Ms. Vanisko 

You also become more imaginative through reading.  – Ms. Nicholson

If someone wanted to write a book, how does that process work? 

It’s so much work – Mr. Jay 

What areas do your students need to improve? 

Reading comprehension or just listening comprehension.  – Ms. Vanisko

Writing how you are supposed to write in an English class, not how you write online on social media. -Ms. Hammersly

 Why do you think a lot of people struggle with English? 

English has changed a lot.  – Ms. Vanisko

I think a lot of people don’t realize what English class is for. I’m not teaching you the language, I’m teaching you how to read and write academically. -Ms. Hammersly

I think it’s difficult because we ask the kids to really think deeply.  – Ms. Nicholson

What has been your favorite book to have your students read? 

The Outsiders – Mr. Jay 

The Giver -Ms. Hammersly

1984  – Ms. Nicholson