Profile by Ali Brand (’22)
Ms. Amanda Altemose, an English Secondary Education graduate of Marywood University, is an eighth grade ELA teacher at Pleasant Valley Middle School. In the classroom, she mainly teaches writing courses and covers important topics such as literary analysis. With her writing skills and her experiences that she has gained through studying English Education, Amanda has been able to create a fun and influential learning environment that improves students’ writing skills and inspires them to work hard and strive for success.
What made you decide to major in English? Who or what influenced you?
Amanda has always loved to read and write, and her passion for English really grew during her 11th grade English class. Amanda says that although her teacher at the time was “very tall and intimidating,” he was “really good at teaching English, and encouraged and strengthened my writing skills.” Unfortunately, this teacher passed away from cancer during her senior year, and the motivation that her teacher gave her was a big part of her decision to become a teacher and to major in English. Amanda also teaches in the same school district she graduated from and uses the skills she learned from her teacher in order to inspire her students in his honor.
How has Marywood’s English program prepared you for your career?
Amanda says that many of the English courses that she took at Marywood prepared her for teaching English herself. Courses like Teaching Writing, Teaching Literature, and English 170 taught her skills that she uses in her own classroom and gave her fundamentals in important topics such as literary analysis. Amanda also did a work study with the English department where she formed close relationships with the teachers, which further helped her in her English studies. Student teaching was also a positive experience that gave Amanda the opportunity to work with kids and helped her “blossom into someone who can teach.” Amanda says that Marywood allowed her to grow out of her shell, and taught her that “the more comfortable you are, the more you can help students learn.”
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career/job?
To Amanda, the most rewarding aspect of her job is working with the students, and seeing them succeed and strive to grow and get better. She says that it is very rewarding when students remember what they learned in her class, and even once had a former student message her on Facebook and ask her an English question. Amanda says that the students “like it when you are fun,” and says that she learns from them every day, feeling rewarded by the students’ enthusiasm to learn and their improved writing skills.
What advice would you give to undergrad English majors?
For current English majors, Amanda gives advice on how to handle the many components of writing. Amanda says that although writing is hard and many other majors may not have to go through as much processing as English majors, writing “can be rewarding, and this way you can help so many people with their writing as well.” Amanda also says that even though college can be hard at times, always remember that there are so many things you can do with English, and that writing is “very rewarding, even when you feel like you can’t do it.”