Hey! Welcome to WeAreTeachers’ newest series, In My Classroom, where we believe in teacher appreciation all year long. Today we’re chatting with Ms. Allyssa Allaire, a high school English teacher from Nebraska. Let’s step inside her classroom and see what it’s like.
As the sponsor of her Lincoln Southeast’s Harry Potter Club, Ms. Allyssa Allaire is likely to appreciate being introduced with a quote from Albus Dumbledore: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”
Words may be magical, but for some they can also be an elusive obstacle. That’s how Allyssa Allaire found words as a high school student with both dyslexia and dysgraphia. All classes were made difficult by these learning disabilities, none more so than English. So, naturally, upon graduating from high school, Allyssa dedicated herself to becoming an English teacher. Rather than shying away from the words she found so difficult, she pursued them.
Of course, one doesn’t just become an English teacher overnight. It started with a conversation with her own high school English teacher. “He told me—and I’ll never forget this—I should choose a career path in something that I struggled in but enjoyed.” For a girl with dyslexia who nevertheless loved reading, that thing was English. She knew that others like her—future students—could love it, too, if they had the right teacher to give them a push. She decided to become that teacher.
But as if the letters jumbling themselves into unrecognizable sequences wasn’t enough, Allyssa had additional hurdles to clear to become a teacher. The oldest of six, her single mother wasn’t in a position to cut tuition checks to the university. So for two years, Allyssa endured the two-hour bus ride to and from the local community college, earning her associate’s degree. When she wasn’t in class or studying, she worked at a grocery store. Eventually, between her wages, grants, and scholarships, she was able to put in two more years at university and graduate with her degree in English education.
Allyssa Allaire is a teacher who inspires us. Recently, we interviewed her about her current experiences as a teacher. Here’s what she said:
What’s your favorite part of teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is building the rapport between myself and my students. As someone who has two learning exceptionalities and struggled in my own personal education as a scholar, I find it rewarding to motivate my students in ascertaining and confirming their inner strengths and abilities and discovering what truly inspires them through the reading and writing process.