Student Teacher Deanna Willis Enjoys her First Months At Community

Deanna+Willis+in+Ken+McGraw%27s+room+after+their+World+Lit+class.
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Student Teacher Deanna Willis Enjoys her First Months At Community

Deanna Willis in Ken McGraw's room after their World Lit class.

Deanna Willis in Ken McGraw's room after their World Lit class.

Deanna Willis in Ken McGraw's room after their World Lit class.

Deanna Willis in Ken McGraw's room after their World Lit class.

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Deanna Willis in Ken McGraw's room after their World Lit class.

Ken McGraw’s classroom has changed drastically this year. He moved to an entirely different room, acquiring a student teacher along the way. Deanna Willis’ journey to Community High School is a different story. Willis was assigned to CHS through the University of Michigan Education Program. When Willis heard she was assigned to an alternative school, she was doubtful at first. After a bit of research, Willis began to realize that her first judgement  was a fallacy.

“When I saw that it was an alternative school, my original thought was alternative in the fact where it’s the school where everyone sends … problem children.  That’s very opposite of what it is,” Willis said. “I noticed it was alternative in the way it’s just based largely around well, the community.  People call each other on a first name basis.  The whole forum thing … I was confused about it at first, I thought it was just a study hour.  Now, to see what forum actually is and what it does for the school, it just totally encompasses what this school is all about.”

During high school, Willis did not know which career she wanted to pursue. She enjoyed psychology, which is now her minor. As Willis continued through college she realized the appeal of teaching. “I can’t think of any other job where I can just talk about literature and have it be acceptable,” says Willis. Now, majoring in English, Willis is thrilled to be working here.Willis has found that Community’s unique student body has contributed to her teaching experience. “I’ve had very little problem with classroom management here, and that’s very unusual, and I know I’m being spoiled, and that is not very realistic of other schools and other classrooms.  It seems as though every student, or nearly every student, wants to be here and wants to learn.  They listen to whoever is up in the room if they establish themselves as a good authority figure.  They respond to everything that I am saying, and it is really just ideal.  I’m very lucky,” she said.

Willis is excited to teach two units, one for World Lit and one for Intro to Lit. She is grateful to Ken for allowing her to take charge of the classroom. “It’s a lot of work but it’s going to be really rewarding and a really great learning experience,” says Willis. She has felt very comfortable with the class since the beginning, she now is looking forward to teaching them.

“I feel like a real teacher and I feel like the kids really look at me as a reasonable person to answer their question,” says Willis.  She feels very comfortable expressing herself to her students. “When you’re passionate about what you are talking about and expressing your inner nerd, students feel like they can do the same thing without being discriminated against …  Even if you can inspire one student to do something more or work harder, or just do anything, that is really worth it.”

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