English teacher Taylor Rose returns to West
Pathfinder: What got you interested in teaching?
Rose: “I have always wanted to be a teacher, as so many empowering women in my family have served as teachers. From playing school with my cousins as a child to working in various educational experiences in the community, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my career to serving students. This decision was really cemented when I was privileged to go through the West Middle and High English Departments. My teachers so deeply impacted my middle and high school careers that I wanted to do the same one day for my own students.”
What class(es) do you teach?
“I teach English I and English IV.”
Is this your first year teaching?
“This is my second year teaching. Last year, I taught at Battle High School (BHS) in Columbia, MO while I was earning my Master’s Degree.”
I heard you were a returning alumna, what made you decide to come back?
“I am a proud Longhorn alumna! As I mentioned, I spent my first year teaching in Columbia, Missouri because I was participating in a Master’s Degree program through the University of Missouri. The majority of the secondary education positions were located in Columbia, so I worked at BHS while I finished my degree. It has always been a dream of mine to return to West; I feel incredibly privileged to be able to come ‘home.’ From having several family members graduate from West to having three family members still attending, we are Parkway cheerleaders and absolutely love the community and philosophy here.”
Did you previously teach at a different school? Are there any teaching strategies you are using at West that you learned at your previous school?
“[BHS] is quite different from West in that it is currently in its fifth year of operations, while West is entering its 50th. It was exciting to be a part of a new school as it established its identity and created new traditions. It’s equally exciting to be returning to such an established school, where cemented traditions are so special to its members and alumni. I absolutely use various teaching strategies that I learned at BHS in my classroom at West. From differentiating to meet the needs of diverse students to forming strong relationships with those students, I am lucky to have practiced several strategies last year that I am able to maintain that keep the students and their needs at the focus of our classroom.”
Why did you decide to teach English? If you could teach another subject, what subject would it be and why?
“I decided to teach English because I have always had an immense love for literature and the power of literacy. I also believe that English provides students with literacy skill sets that serve them beyond the classroom and well into the higher academic and/or professional worlds. If I could teach another subject, it would likely be history. Similarly to English, I think history tells important stories of human development that teach the world about our current condition based on the past.”
Are there any challenges you face while teaching? How have you overcome them?
“There are always challenges in such a complex job as teaching. From helping students understand concepts or practice skills to staying focused and being intentional about lesson design, assessment and the empowerment of learners, there are always aspects upon which I can reflect and areas in which I can improve. I believe that the most valuable work that I have done in the past regarding these challenges always revolves around my students; whether I can spend extra time getting to know my students and their unique learning preferences or spend extra effort in pursuing new tools or supports to try, it is always worth going the extra mile to help students be successful.”
What are you most excited for about your class/this year?
“This year, I am most excited for working with two groups of students that are so drastically different from one another. On one hand, I have the privilege of working with freshmen as they begin their high school careers. I am excited to help students explore their strengths and areas for improvement as they establish lasting academic skills that they will carry with them throughout high school. On the other hand, I am so lucky to be able to work with seniors as they reflect upon their time in high school and set goals for their learning experiences in college or in the professional arena.”
What is your favorite thing about West?
“My favorite thing about West is its tradition of excellence. From its high expectations of students and faculty to the ways in which its members treat one another with integrity, West is a place where students and adults share the common priority of becoming the best versions of themselves, and it is incredibly rewarding to be a part of that.”
What is one fun fact about you that you want the students to know?
“One fun fact about me is that I absolutely love to send and receive quick notes from students. During the year, I try to send each student a note telling them about their amazing strengths that I observe in the classroom. In turn, students often write me quick notes throughout the day, telling me something about them or something happy that has happened in their lives recently. This is such a small gesture on both parts, but it really helps me to get to know my kids and hopefully reminds them of how much I value them as students.”
How would you like students to see you?
“I want students to see me as an unyielding source of support for them, both academically and personally. I try very diligently to make sure that my students know that I am their biggest fan and loudest cheerleader in several ways. Whether that might look like me holding them accountable and to high expectations academically to me cheering in the stands during their sporting events, my students mean the world to me, and I want them to know that with confidence!”