Teacher of the Issue: Pearce pens dream job into real life


Olivia Cooper

Coppell High School AP English Literature teacher Kim Pearce explains the relationships of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to CHS senior Izzy Ortagoza in third period on Thursday. Pearce has been teaching English classes for 38 years.

Anette Varghese, Student Life Editor

If you walked the upstairs C hall 20 years ago you would see the same face, the same AP English teacher teeming with love for her craft. 

Coppell High School AP English literature and composition teacher Kim Pearce was selected by The Sidekick staff as its Teacher of the Issue. As a 1979 Florida State University graduate who spent three years teaching in Jacksonville, Fla., Pearce found her place in Coppell and has been teaching here for 38 years. Pearce has also been CHS’ sole AP facilitator for nine years and works to make the AP environment inclusive rather than exclusive. 

Did you always want to be a teacher? 

Yes, I can remember playing school in my bedroom. [I remember] lining up my stuffed animals and dolls, and [my] papers and [my] little books. But, I can also remember my father saying, if you get into teaching, you won’t make much money, it is not a well paying position. When I first started teaching in Florida, I made $8,000 a year.

What is the most rewarding part of teaching to you?

Having kids come back and say “hello,”  “thank you” [and] “I still remember.” I am now at a point where I am teaching the children of my former students, [I hear] “Oh, Miss Pearce, Miss Pearce, you’re going to love her,” kind of thing. The rewarding part is that [my students are] thankful, that they have an appreciation [for English] and know that I care about them.

How has teaching changed since becoming the AP facilitator on campus?

As the AP campus facilitator, I help other teachers who are getting into AP and getting their training. We’ve evolved a great deal, the College Board is trying to make these classes accessible. And for a long time, AP was more exclusive rather than being inclusive. And the idea is we know that all kids could benefit from AP strategies and AP skills. 

 What is your favorite piece of literature?

We’re actually doing one of them right now, Frankenstein. I absolutely love Frankenstein. It is [a] classic, but [it is] also timeless in that it was published 203 years ago, and it’s still relevant today. It’s beautiful, the idea that an 18-year-old wrote this novel. One of my favorites to teach is Shakespeare. No English teacher would be without Shakespeare. 

What is the craziest memory you’ve had teaching AP literature? 

We were in here in the room working and all of a sudden, this bird flew into the window. It was one of those suicide missions, made the loudest noise, a little girl named Carly, I can still remember her sitting there she screams. And we realized that it was the bird that had hit the window, and you could look down and see this dead bird down on the pavement. In that year alone, we had three birds that hit the windows, it’s just one of those weird memories. 

What is your favorite thing to do outside of school?

[I love] traveling, working out and reading. [My family] has been to Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong, Europe, Canada, Hawaii and the Caribbean. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

I was the only AP teacher for English literature for awhile, and only in the last couple of years have we added additional teachers. Our AP English team works really well together, we can each still be autonomous as teachers and still do things that we know are good for our kids. Kids will look at me going, you really do like this stuff don’t you? 

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