English teacher Clarke also a student


Clarke pushes students to work for the knowledge instead of the grade.

Lizzy Doctorov, Staff Writer

Sarah Clarke is not only a teacher but a student as well.

Clarke was born in Canada and later moved to New Jersey. She spent a year and a half in France during her sophomore and junior years of high school before moving to Pennsylvania. She later received her teaching credentials at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

Clarke pushes students to work for the knowledge instead of the grade.
Clarke pushes students to work for the knowledge instead of the grade.

The most influential person in Clarke’s decision to become an English teacher was Terry Burns, her English teacher during her junior and senior year of high school. Prior to having him as a teacher, she was able to excel in all of her classes without putting too much effort into them.

For the first time, Burns challenged her and taught her how to read and write to the best of her abilities, pushing her much further than any other previous teachers had. Clarke said, “I knew at that point that I wanted to do for other students what he did for me.”

Clarke urges her students to learn to be strong writers instead of focusing on the grade they receive in her class.

Clarke said, “I like seeing students get it and have successes. Seeing those ‘aha moments’ and epiphanies, that’s what it’s all about.”

Clarke provides a very solid base for her students, making the transition into higher level classes like AP English much easier for those who choose to take such classes in the future.

Sophomore Alexandra Irby said, “Some kids might think [Clarke’s teaching style] is pretty hard, but I like it because it pushes you to work hard to get your grade.”

Clarke teaches many English classes of varying levels during the day and goes to do some learning of her own at night. She aims to get a Master’s Degree in educational leadership.

Sophomore Monica Carrasco said, “I think it’s great that she wants to further her education and she still gets stuff done on time, so it’s not an issue.”

She attends a California State University East Bay Educational Leadership Program that holds classes in the Sequoia Union High School District and the San Mateo Union High School District.

Clarke is currently in her second quarter and takes social justice and education, school budget, and a fieldwork class. Last quarter, she took educational leadership, supervision and staff development, and started her fieldwork.

Clarke is still unsure about the future. She said, “I have no idea what my next step would be. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can right now.”