What were your first thoughts when experiencing our ¨unique¨ environment?
Ms. Degenhardt “My first thoughts were that of being inspired, but also completely overwhelmed. There is so much freedom here to explore areas of passion and new ideas in ways that I have never experienced before in traditional high schools.”
How have your ideas about education previously, either through teaching or college, changed since arriving here at IDEAS?
Ms. Degenhardt“In a lot of ways I don’t think they have changed, I think that reading and writing skills are fundamental for success. Coming here though I realized that doesn’t have to solely take place in an English classroom and I want the language arts program here to be representative of that, that writing and reading skills can be studied and developed throughout all content areas.
How many years have you worked in your field of expertise?
Ms. Degenhardt“This is my sixth year as an English education teacher, however I also worked for two years as a journalist and a writer.
What special skills do you have that make you stand out from others in your field?
Ms. Degenhardt“I’m really passionate that students recognise the foundations of language and how it operates. When they understand this and can recognise it in text they begin to understand how they can experiment in their own writing. What I want to bring to IDEAS is not that students just write analysis papers, persuasive arguments, or essays over and over again, but that they develop the ability to choose specific writing genres and styles to fit their needs as a writer as well as their audience’s needs.”
Where do you plan to be with your career in 10 years?
Ms. Degenhardt“To be honest, I have always had aspirations to move to the university level.”
What do you hope to get out of the experience here?
Ms. Degenhardt“I think that I hope to get what I always hoped to achieve as an educator, that is, new insight and knowledge into how to help students become critical thinkers, writers, and now, thanks to new ideas, exhibitors in order to become active participants in the world around them.”
What kind of goals do you hope your students reach through your class?
Ms. Degenhardt“To improve their writing technique and skills as well as be able to analyze text and recognise how language is incorporated into the text so they can use it in their own writing endeavors.”
What’s one thing not many people know about you?
Ms. Degenhardt“I love upcycling furniture, which is taking something old and usually beaten and turning it into something new, beautiful, and unique, rather than going to the store and buying something new. ‘There is no story to buying anything new’.”