Getting to Know ‘You’: An Introduction to Beacon’s New English Teacher

By Mollie Butler

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{Ms. You doing the Tour du Mont Blanc a year ago.}

This year, Beacon welcomed Ms. You, a 11th and 12th grade English teacher from the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Queens, into its community. She joined the Beacon faculty at a crucial time in her teaching career, having realized that she wanted to experience a new learning environment with fresh challenges.

After spending thirteen years in her previous job, she is now overcoming a brief period of “postmortem” reflection on her time at BSGE to better understand the institution she had joined and her role within it. Adjusting to Beacon, a setting Ms. You described as the polar opposite of her old school, has been the most difficult part of her first two months here (especially the commute, which she was most surprised about). Regarding her experience coming into Beacon, she told The Beacon Beat, “How much of what one experiences is oneself and how much of it is the situation, is a difficult concept to understand.” With the support of her new colleagues, whom she calls “amazing,” Ms. You feels she is beginning to find her place here at Beacon. Ms. You is grateful for the opportunity for self-realization and growth this new position will provide.

Before Ms. You started teaching, the path she had envisioned for her life was far from her career as an English teacher. When this did not pan out, she took a more a passive approach to finding her career path and ultimately, found the work she now loves, along with a new passion for literature: “Any text helps us realize how complicated we are as human beings. Sometimes it is hard to be proud of being human, but literature can make you proud, literature is always there to return to.”

Although Ms. You’s admiration for literature and passion for teaching is deep, she tells The Beacon Beat that it may not always shine through when she stands in front of a classroom of thirty students. She says the best way to get to know her as a teacher and a person is through meeting one-on-one, when she is comfortable expressing herself and students can get a chance to “figure her out,” — then, she might even show you pictures of her two dogs!

Nevertheless, Ms. You’s love for the written word is clearly applied in her philosophies as a teacher and in the goals she expressed to The Beacon Beat. In her classes, Ms. You hopes to create a strong foundation in English for her students as they progress in their education, and to help students gain their own appreciation for the written word: “One of my favorite poems is The Emperor of Ice Cream by Wallace Stevens. Whenever I read that, I am always in awe that an insurance executive from Connecticut can write such an exquisite poem. It important to always have this to return to.”

Ms. You channels a depth of literary knowledge and an eagerness to engage students into her teaching. These qualities make the Beacon English department a unique and impactful part of the school’s curriculum.