Year of Graduation:
BA in English – concentration in Literary Studies with a minor in Classical Studies, 2014
MEd in Secondary Education, 2017
Current Position: Ninth Grade English and Creative Writing Teacher at Universal School
Describe a typical day at work.
“Every day is different, no day is ever slow.”
All of Amar’s work days start different – some begin on a good note while another may begin on a less than good note. Some days she may have a wonderful morning and one thing might set it off. Then she fights to get that good feeling back again. The desire to have a great day is juggled alongside her students’ needs, the needs of the administration and coworkers, and the responsibilities that accompany being the leader of extracurricular activities such as book club, student council, and drama club. As a teacher, Amar manages several day-to-day tasks, but she contends that one of the main parts of her job is listening and finding solutions. Although she stands up at the front of the room, she is the one that is doing the most listening.
In terms of curriculum, Amar says that her ninth grade students focus heavily on summarizing and comprehending texts during their years in middle school. She encourages her students to use critical thinking skills and develop better analytical writing techniques. Amar asks her students to think deeply about the text they are covering in class by inserting themselves into the text. The technique allows her students to understand their position as readers and consumers of literature.
How did you find your first job after graduation and/or your current position?
Amar admits that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next when she graduated with her Bachelors in English. She decided to travel for a year to figure out what she was interested in pursuing. While visiting family members in different places, she constantly found herself in the same position, helping her cousins with their homework or talking to people about their creative works. She recalled visiting her great uncle in Belgium, and seeing all the poetry he wrote as a teenager. That was when she knew she wanted to talk to people about literature, and help others learn.
As Amar started her observation hours at different schools around Chicago, she couldn’t stop thinking about the techniques she wanted to bring back to Universal School and her community. She didn’t leave Universal with the idea that she would come back to her Alma Mater so soon, but she did want to return to the community that helped shape her view of education and learning.
During her last few months of student teaching, Amar contacted Universal’s administrations for a job. She eagerly offered her assistance when she heard they were looking for volunteers to help reorganize their library. In time, she familiarized herself with the school’s hiring process and asked if there were any available positions. A friend of hers worked in the same department and recommended Amar to the administration.
After Amar completed her student teaching, she interviewed with Universal and was offered a job as an English teacher.
How important has networking been in your employment searches? How did you find or build contacts in your desired field?
“I didn’t think about the role networking played in my job until I retraced the process.”
Amar says she didn’t initially think networking played a large role in her search for employment, but then recalled the process of getting her current position. She met with the English Curriculum Coordinator as well as administration board members. While she was student teaching, she volunteered and assisted with different projects to acquaint herself with the school.
How does your English major help you in your current position?
“It’s directly connected. I would struggle a lot if I didn’t have an English background.”
What did you like best/value most about DePaul’s English major?
One aspect of DePaul Amar most values is the diverse community. She says she benefited from making connections with her classmates and learning about what her professors were doing outside of the classroom. This helped her map out different paths she could potentially pursue in the future. Relationships with her professors helped shape the teacher she is today. She now implements some of the practices and techniques of her DePaul professors in her own classroom.
What advice would you give current English majors about their studies or extracurricular activities while they are still at DePaul?
“College is your time to learn as much as you can about whatever you want.”
Amar recommends students take the time to enjoy the freedom of studying subjects that interest them. She says she didn’t want to finish college early because she wanted to take advantage of all the classes and lessons offered to her. Yet a recurring thought surfaced: “What is the point of studying English?”
Amar dismissed her doubts by reminding herself that she was learning about something she really loves. She advises students appreciate their undergraduate status during their time at DePaul.
What advice would you give to graduating students as they move into the job market?
“There isn’t pressure to find a long term career right away. Try jobs out until you find one that makes you happy.”
Amar also advises graduating students to think of the type of work environment they want to join. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. Sometimes you may not have a lot of job options, but there isn’t any pressure for students to find what it is they want to do right away. Amar wants to reassure students that it is okay to bounce around to find something that works for you and makes you happy.
What advice would you give first year students?
“It’s four years that can be very transformative, if you let them be.”
Amar advises first year students to take their college years seriously, because they will not get these years back. She suggests attending classes because they are an investment. Most important of all: Amar advises students to be engaged and talk to their professors and classmates.