Pickrell hoping students grow as thinkers, writers

Manasa Mohan, Staff Writer

Coppell High School AP English III teacher Emily Pickrell has taught at  CHS for three years and at Coppell Middle School East for two years. Every year, Pickrell finds herself fascinated by the new talents and passions that students bring with them as they walk through her door. More than anything, she hopes her students grow as thinkers and carry the skills they learn from her class with them to their future endeavors.

When did you decide you wanted to teach?

I actually did not know that I wanted to teach until I was near the very end of college [at the University of Texas at Austin]. It’s not initially what I was planning to do when I was in college, but throughout the course of my four years in college and an organization [Young Life] I got involved in, [I found out] what I wanted to do. [Through Young Life], I mentored high school teen girls for five years and it really showed me the good, the bad and the ugly of high school. [It] reminded me of what was fun and hard about high school, and teenagers can be some of the funniest and best people. 

Why did you decide to teach English?

I majored in English when I was in college. I really fell in love with reading and writing in a new way. I always enjoyed it in high school, but when I got to UT Austin, I started to appreciate the value of deeper, analytical thinking through the creative expression of [writing]. It was sort of a no-brainer for me that once I started the education route; I wanted to teach English. 

What are your goals for your students this year?

I hope that my students will do well on the AP test, but more importantly than the test, I hope that they grow as writers and thinkers. This year specifically, with the different challenges that have come with it, it’s been exciting for me to still see the growth that has happened. If a student succeeds at that growth, then that’s all I can hope for, and I don’t put a lot of pressure or weight on that AP exam score because that’s just one test, one time. I want to see those [reading, writing and analytical] skills carry over into either the workplace or higher education. 

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?

I have learned to never give up on people. That’s not what I expected to learn coming into teaching, but I don’t really know how to give up on people anymore. I see potential in each student, and I know that not everybody loves English and that not everybody is going to love my class, but I love being able to see that passion behind math or engineering or whatever it is that somebody excels in and being able to see students flourish in their own way. 

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