Kelly Watson graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science in English/Language Arts Education. She also earned a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition/Writing Studies from Ball State. Kelly is now an eighth grade English teacher at Fishers Jr. High in Fishers, Indiana. She is the Project Coordinator for the Educators’ Institute of Human Rights International and a USHMM Regional Educator and Museum Teacher Fellow.
What are the most valuable skills you learned as an English Ed major? How have they helped you post-graduation?
Perhaps my most valuable skill came from the Young Adult Literature class, where it instilled in me the absolute necessity of reading what your students read in order to recommend titles and encourage the love of reading.
What was your first job following graduation?
I worked for a year at Borders Book Store in Castleton! My first teaching job was subbing for a maternity leave from November to spring break at New Castle Chrysler HS.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Busy. You are never just teaching your subject. You are counseling, encouraging, celebrating, redirecting, and creating something new every day. Logistically I teach four classes of English 8, two classes of Advanced English 8, and co-sponsor Gay-Straight Alliance and sponsor the Writing Club.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
In junior high, you never know what to expect. I enjoy building relationships with students who go out of their way to share the most heartwarming, bizarre, or completely goofy parts of their lives, and I cannot wait to get to school to see what happens next!
Was there a particular English Ed class that left an impact on you?
It has been many years, but the YA Literature class and Indiana Authors classes reminded me why I love doing what I do.
What advice do you have for English Ed majors?
Read what your students read. Know that there will be bad days but each day is a chance to begin again. Don’t spend nine hours grading on Sundays; take care of yourself and strive for balance.
Lastly, could you describe your work with the US Holocaust Museum?
Since 2001 I have been a speaker for USHMM, helping other teachers know best practices on teaching about the Holocaust and other genocides. I am also an International Program Coordinator with the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, working in Cambodia with teachers about how to share the history of the Holocaust and make connections with their own genocide.