This year, Saline Area Schools hired its largest incoming class of teachers in years. There are 13 new staff members in the school district this year. Over the next few weeks, we'll introduce you to them.
Today, we introduce you to Madelyn Clark.
Name: Madelyn Clark
What/where I teach: English at Saline High School and French at Saline Middle School
Hometown: Ann Arbor
What university did you graduate from? Hope College
What is your previous teaching or work experience? After graduating, I worked as a long-term substitute in a seventh grade English classroom at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor.
Why did I decide on teaching as a profession? And why did I choose my specific subject/area? I have wanted to teach ever since I could convince my younger brother and sister to be my "students" in a "classroom" located in our basement. Teaching has been a dream of mine for a long time. Truly, what ultimately convinced me to choose teaching as a profession was my experience as a student. I adored being in the classroom, and I had a myriad of teachers whom I admired and respected. Perhaps the shortest and most accurate answer to the question of why I chose to teach English is: "It's my favorite subject." Both reading and writing are therapeutic for me, and I love the discussions with students that arise as a result of reading literature and practicing analysis.
Describe a satisfying moment you have experienced as a teacher. I will describe one of my first satisfying moments as a teacher because it is one of the more poignant memories I have. During my semester of student teaching, I put together a poetry unit for my seventh graders. There were of course a host of skeptics; however, I had made it a goal to get my students enjoying poetry. One student in particular seemed very averse to the idea of writing poetry. Actually, to be quite honest, he seemed averse to doing just about anything in English class! About a week into the unit, he approached me during class and thrust a piece of paper towards me. "Here," he said gruffly. I began reading the words on the page to discover that this student had not only written the kind of poem I had assigned, but he had even taken the time to rhyme each line. It was clear to me that, despite his blasé attitude, he had put some effort and thought into this and was quite excited to show me the finished product. I told him what a great job he had done and that he should be proud of his work. He smiled and then walked back to his seat. Unbeknownst to me, my mentor teacher had been watching our entire interaction. She walked up behind me and whispered in my ear, "I have yet to see that kid smile so big." His smile and those words were deeply satisfying. Knowing that my encouragement could make a difference in how a student perceives himself and realizing that there is an "inner poet" or an "inner mathematician" or an "inner public speaker" in every student that is simply waiting to be reached, made me feel satisfied and content with my career choice.
Who was your favorite teacher and why? Monica Harrold, Jennifer Walsh, and Amy Vail. Mrs. Harrold was my 1st and 2nd grade teacher, and I remember feeling so loved and cared for in her classroom. Mrs. Walsh inspired me to be an English teacher; her reading and writing workshops were my favorite part of 8th grade. Mrs. Vail stood in front of us on the first day of sophomore year and could not contain her excitement about teaching. I respected her opinion and feedback more than anyone!
What is something about you that might surprise your students? If I couldn't teach, I would write greeting cards or renovate old and damaged houses.
How do you like to spend your time away from class? On a rainy, cold day, you'll find me holed up in a coffee shop, reading and drinking exorbitant amounts of coffee. During the summer, I would be at the beach and barbecue every day if I could. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, baking, traveling, watching movies, and buying Vera Bradley bags.