Quynh-Huong Nguyen Van is a senior majoring in English enrolled in the DirecTrack to Teaching program. She shares her hopes of shaping the conversation about race in America with students, becoming an English teacher, and how being a first-generation American will help her as a teacher.
What do you hope to accomplish as a teacher?
I want to be a teacher because it’s more than teaching a subject you are passionate about, but also about creating a safe space for students to be themselves and to grow intellectually. I also believe racism is a serious issue in America today and want to play my small part in helping to reshape the way we view race by incorporating discussions about racism and society into my classroom. I cannot think of a better setting to facilitate this than English classrooms; especially since many literary works can be used as a vehicle to help students see truth through fiction and to help students build empathy for other people by getting to know characters and authors.
What strengths do you think you will bring to the classroom?
I believe one of my greatest assets as a future educator is my Vietnamese-American background. I feel my first-generation immigrant experiences have given me unique perspectives that will allow me to be a more empathetic and inclusive teacher
What has been your experience with the DirecTrack faculty?
My experience with my DirecTrack advisors over the last three years has been absolutely phenomenal. They have always been understanding and supportive of not only my academic work, but also my personal endeavors. My DirecTrack advisors have proven to be some of the strongest faculty relationships I have cultivated at the University.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I imagine myself in a classroom, more adept at my job than my first year of teaching, and hopefully being an advisor for a school club like speech or directing the school play.
What’s been your favorite course so far?
My favorite course has been ENGL3601: Analysis of the English Language, an intro-level linguistics course focusing on the English language. It is a course that is required for my major as well as a prerequisite for the Master’s in Education and Initial Teaching license in English program. I initially only took the class because it was required, but it quickly became my one of my favorites. The class felt like I was applying chemistry or math to the study of the English language; I found the class to be a breath of fresh air!
Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?
Through DirecTrack, I have been able to have many meaningful service-learning experiences, make great friends who are as dedicated about teaching as I am, and have found a community I feel I belong in.