Meet a Language Arts Teacher: Chantel Thackeray Olsen
PERSONAL CAREER BRIEF
A graduate of … Hunter High School
Now working as … High School Language Arts Teacher. “My job is to organize lessons and information in order to bring out what is within my students. Particularly, I focus on literature, writing, reading, presenting.”
Employer … Murray School District
Check out this website … http://www.murrayschools.org/schools2/mhs/index.html
Drawing, ceramics, English, and creative writing were her favorite classes in high school because … “I felt like these classes allowed me to be ME! There seemed to be more freedom to choose my assignment, or at least choose an element of the assignment. I also felt like my grade was truly based on my work/performance.
Chantel’s first job … was mowing lawns for Salt Lake Community College.
The worst job? Bussing/waiting tables. What made it the worst was not going to work until noon and then working late into the night. She felt that she was wasting the best part of the day at work.
A Career Highlight … “I should put something here like … I have my Master’s Degree, or I received an award, but I think some things are more of a highlight for me. I love teaching for several reasons, but I mostly enjoy it when I get a letter or a visit from a student that is grateful for my class. I had a student return after several years and say he wouldn’t have graduated if I hadn’t pushed him to complete his work in my class, as well as his other classes. He was in a technical school in Arizona and headed in a fantastic direction for a career. He never liked school and didn’t want to go to college. When he was a student I remember telling him that there are so many opportunities for everyone and some of those opportunities aren’t in a traditional route. He said that changed how he thought about his future. I can’t express how meaningful the moment was.”
Advice to students: “Make a decision. Don’t wait for something to happen to you. Everyone is constantly looking to improve and to seek out what they want—adults and teenagers. There is not a perfect career or decision. If you keep moving, taking classes you enjoy, feeding the knowledge you value, you will end up doing something you believe in and so … like.”
The takeaway from Chantel’s worst job: ”Looking back now, I see that it was a challenge. I had to be very socially appropriate: when guests complained I had to work on being humble and patient. This job introduced me to a lot of interesting people—guests and peers. I learned so much about how to control emotions and do the job even if someone is being rude.
- RE: Chantel’s early college experience: “I didn’t really have an idea of a major or a ‘job’ when I went to Southern Utah University, so I decided I was just going to take classes I enjoyed. I had a Nature Writing class. We read selections about the West, about Utah. I was hooked. I loved that we read about areas I had been to: Moab, Salt Lake, the Grand Canyon. I felt connected to the writers and the subjects. To end the course we went on a class trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I felt like the class came to life. We wrote about our experiences, just like the writers we had read. So … I became an English major.”