A Classroom with a View

Reflections on Teaching High School English


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The first month, in 10 words

So I’ve been teaching full time for a month now. I don’t have much extra time or energy to expend on blogging at this point in the semester, but I thought I’d try to capture how I’ve been feeling/what I’ve been thinking about this past month in 10 words. Here we go, in roughly chronological order.

Literally me. Source: Kappit

  1. NERVOUS
  2. Unqualified
  3. Comfortable
  4. Harambe?!
  5. Sick
  6. Stressed
  7. Connections ❤
  8. Tireless!
  9. Exhausted…
  10. Content
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What’s in a name? A lot.

So here’s my brand new baby blog, making its way into the world for the first time, as I more fully enter into the world of teaching for the first time.

The title of this blog was of course inspired by E.M. Forster’s 1908 novel A Room with a View. This title therefore holds several valences of meaning for me, and will, I hope, for you, as well.

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My well-loved copy of E.M. Forster’s novel A Room with a View (1908)

On a personal level, A Room with a View was one of the texts that most ignited my love of literature and literary analysis. Taught to me by a beloved AP literature teacher, Forster’s novel follows a young girl, Lucy Honeychurch, as she travels to Italy, grows up, and falls in love. As a teenager, this book moved me like no other, and I was so grateful to my teacher for having introduced me to it.

In a sense, “A Classroom with a View” represents my own feeling of growing up and falling in love, in this case with teaching English. For the past three years, I’ve been pursuing my Master’s degrees in English and Teaching, but this semester — for the first time — I’m finally teaching in the high school English classroom, reading, discussing, and writing about texts that may change my students just as A Room with a View changed me.

In another sense, the title of this blog signals my desire to facilitate a classroom environment that is honest and open — with a “view” to the outside world. It is only in achieving her room with a view, both literally and figuratively, that Lucy is able to become the passionate, independent person she was always meant to be. I hope that by opening up my classroom to the view of others, I, too, will become a better teacher for it.

Finally, during the course of the novel, Lucy discovers a paper with only an “enormous” question mark written on it, and it disturbs her without her understanding why: “‘What does it mean?’ she thought” (12). Lucy’s initial discomfort with the mysterious question mark symbolizes her reluctance, in that moment, to seriously consider her own complacency and stagnation. In my own classroom with a view, I hope to prompt my students to undergo the same process of self-discovery as Lucy, as they encounter important texts that will perhaps shake them and their previously-held understandings, beliefs, and values.

Thank you for peering in on my classroom. I hope you enjoy the view.