Teacher of the Month: Ms. Flynn

Teacher of the Month: Ms. Flynn

AP English Language is known to be a difficult course. The AP College Board states that, “Students nurture their understanding of writing and rhetorical arguments through reading, analyzing, and writing texts as they explore topics like rhetorical situation, claim and evidence, reasoning and organization, and style.”

There is a lot happening in this course, but a good teacher will not only improve your writing and analyzing skills, but also help you do well in the class. Our very own AP English Language teacher was voted by fellow teachers at Towson High School to be Teacher of the Month of February!

Ms. Flynn was kind enough to fit me into her busy schedule. She opened up to me about her background, her story, her inspirations, and her most valuable lessons and memories…

From the early age of 9 years old, Ms. Flynn decided she wanted to be a teacher. She went through the rest of her teenage years with the thought that she would be a teacher when she finally got out of school. But, right when she got out of college, she was offered the opportunity to work in England as a writer. She took this opportunity and was a writer for 25 years. Her most typical topics of her writing were articles from when she would interview teachers. This made her feel close to her dream of being a teacher.

There was never a bland moment in her life, until she was mugged and tore ligaments in both knees. Ms. Flynn ended up having to get double knee surgery, which gave her a lot of time to think. During this “thinking” time, she came to the realization that writing about teaching and teaching are not the same thing. This experience opened her eyes as well; she became aware of the fact that the more she pushed off being a teacher, the farther her chances of actually being one because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Therefore, once recovered, she left her company and came back to the US to follow her dreams of becoming a teacher.

Throughout her 8 years of teaching, her favorite part has been hearing the different stories of students that walk through her door. While growing up, she had an appreciation for teachers who took the time to listen to their students stories, but also be open with their students as well. These teachers have most likely been influenced by both being a teacher and a student.

While teaching, Ms. Flynn has faced many challenges and formed many memories. One of the most memorable moments for her was when she first started teaching. She was working in the ASL department at Woodlawn High School, as she was certified in special education. Frequently, the students in the ASL program were given a list of three items to find at a grocery store and some money. They would have to find the items all by themselves and pay for them with the correct amount of money. There would be kids who were good at it because they had been doing it for so long, but there was one kid who was never able to do it. Ms. Flynn could see how low his spirit was after he would get it wrong each time. Until one day they went to the grocery store with their lists and money and the kid went with no intention of getting it right. But, he did! Ms. Flynn described,

“The amount of joy on his face was something that would stick with me for a lifetime.”

It’s hard to let students struggle and on occasion “face plant.” Ms. Flynn has always been a maternal teacher and person, in general. But in hard times, she always thinks of the famous quote from Frederick Douglass, “Without struggle, there is no progress.” She keeps this in her mind to remind herself that her students need to find their own way; she can only help so much.

As a teacher who has faced many obstacles, Ms. Flynn had some advice to share with people who are interested in becoming a teacher….

“People will always talk about the drawbacks of teaching, the justice, and lack of support. And, most of it is true. But it pales in comparison to all of the rewards. For example, when you get to see the immense joy on a student’s face when they get their college admission letter back or when they got a grade on the test. Teaching is not just a job, it’s an identity and it’s truly a way to make the world a better place.

Getting this opportunity to speak with Ms. Flynn truly gave me a different perspective on many things and I haven’t even had her as a teacher!

Congratulations Ms. Flynn!