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English teacher emphasizes discussion, perspective

Stereotypes of new teachers often prompt students to blow off their classes, thinking rowdy classmates and confusion about Powerschool will occupy a flustered newbie’s time. However, new English teacher Brianne Vogt has shattered these ideas in her first permanent teaching job.

Vogt first became inspired to teach English in her junior year of high school, after participating in an AP class where she learned the value of discussion and perspective.

“I had a really cool teacher, and she allowed us to discuss, sometimes four or five days when we were supposed to only take two or three,” Vogt said. “I wondered; what line of work would I be able to do this in a regular basis?”

Vogt, a Reedley native, embraced the opportunity to learn about different perspectives through literature.

“Literature grows your heart as much as your mind,” Vogt said. “It fostered a greater sense of compassion and understanding, and I learned that it’s okay for other people to think differently than me.”

After graduation, Vogt majored in English at Fresno Pacific University. After her eye-opening experience in high school, she realized that being a student meant learning to balance her love of English with other areas of her life.

“I came to a self realization as I was a senior in college,” Vogt said. “Before I was defined as a student, and I learned that student did not encompass my existence. I was learning about balance.”

During her tenure at University, Vogt studied overseas in Spain and Vietnam for three weeks each. The trips helped to widen her world view and be responsible for herself.

“The trip to Spain gave me strength as a person,” Vogt said. “I was making a big journey by myself, and I didn’t have many close friends on the trip. I learned that I had the wherewithal to kind of ‘wing it.'”

The ability to improvise continued to be useful for Vogt when offered a job by campus Principal Jon Endicott.

“I wasn’t really looking for a teaching job. I was teaching at Central East High School six periods a day five days a week in huge classrooms,” Vogt said. “I was recommended by an FPU professor, and Mr. Endicott called me.”

After a practice session with the students, Vogt was offered the job, to teach junior and senior English.

“I was impressed with her ability to analyze literature, and communicate the ideas to the classroom,” Endicott said. “Her job is the last chance for students to become good writers before they go on to college, and she fills the task well.”

For students, the rumors of a “brand new teacher with no experience”, seemed to spell an instructor with not backbone.

“I kind of expected her to be a pushover, but I was impressed by how she handled the class,” Jackie Cowin, ’10, said. “She has the ability to be funny while maintaining order. I really like her.”

The new position made a stark contrast to her old one, with only 20 students in a class, and a strong sense of an enclosed community, Vogt said.

“There was an intimidation factor, because of the unknown,” Vogt said. “But just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m not experienced. I’m confident that God knows what he’s doing. If it wasn’t a good fit, I
wouldn’t be here.”

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    Dawn HutchinsApr 21, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Thanks Jeff! The contacts have helped Cass get into her character:) This couldn’t have happened without your gracious and immediate meeting at your office, sacrificing time with your family. We appreciate your kindness!