Q&A: New English teacher Mr. Donnelly

Mr. Charles Donnelly shares his passion for English with his new students.

Charles+Donnelly+poses+inside+a+large+library

courtesy of Charles Donnelly

Charles Donnelly poses inside a large library

By Julia Pfau, Staff Writer

1. What made you decide to teach at VNHS?

    I spent the spring semester student-teaching at Van Nuys High under English teacher Mr. Ronald Goins and I really enjoyed my time here. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance to be a teacher at this school. The familiarity and smooth transition were all also contributing factors in my decision.

2. Have you taught anywhere other than VNHS?

   I did student-teach last year in the fall at Holmes Middle School in Northridge. I enjoyed my time there as well, but ultimately felt more at home in a high school setting.

3. What subject will you be teaching at VNHS, and what brought you to choose to teach this subject?

   I am teaching English. Now, I did not think I would be a teacher at all growing up, but during my college years when I was studying English, I warmed up to the idea. After graduating, I wanted to continue my relationship with literature, and although I did consider graduate school, I chose to do so in teaching. Although I am not closing the door on further formal studies, I am excited to share my passion for the subject matter with students.

4.  What inspired you to become a teacher?

   There was never a particular moment or teacher that inspired me to become one, rather it was my collective undergraduate experience that was the setting for my personal intellectual awakening—from the stirring lectures from professors, bright peers, to the awe-inspiring building and an incredible library. That, ultimately, was the inspiration to pursue education.

5. What are your thoughts on beginning teaching during a pandemic?

   In a perfect world, of course, you would like to teach in the classroom. Unfortunately, that is not the reality right now. Teaching in a pandemic does pose challenges. Fostering a class community is much more difficult during one. I think the best thing we can all do is put forth our best effort and engage in this new digital format.

6. What is the most important thing you want students to take away from your class?

   The one thing I would want students to take away from an English class, above all else, is that words have power. It is my job to empower students to use words in order for their voices to be heard.