New English teacher comes to Westlake

Ariana Eshraghi

For most teachers, class is a job to do and procedures like taking attendance are simply part of the job. But for new English teacher Megan Wham-Joyce, the class is also a place for students to get creative, and she shows it through opinionated attendance questions, independent reading on Fridays and more.

Wham-Joyce was a research assistant and first-year composition instructor in Notre Dame, where she taught college freshman writing. When she moved to Austin, she worked in Development at the University of Texas at Austin and did research to fund UT. After student teaching at Westlake last year, Wham-Joyce received a job offer to teach freshman English.

“I really enjoyed working for UT, but I missed interacting with students and sharing my passion for English,” Wham-Joyce said. “I became certified to teach high school by completing graduate coursework in education at Texas State. That’s what brought me to student teaching at Westlake last year.”

She student taught under English teachers Michelle Crocker and Melissa Dupre.

“They are both phenomenal teachers who are very committed to students and to the teaching profession, so I am very grateful to them for sharing their knowledge and their classrooms with me,” Wham-Joyce said. “I really enjoyed my time with Westlake students, my mentor teachers, and the other wonderful members of the English department, so I am very happy to be back at Westlake this year.”

Wham-Joyce is really enjoying classes so far. She’s excited for the numerous projects that her freshman Pre-AP students will present throughout the year.

“Now that we are a couple of weeks in, I am starting to get to know students better, and that increases the enjoyment I get from teaching,” Wham-Joyce said. “I’ve been impressed by the insights my students have shared about the short stories we have read so far, and I can’t wait to see the development of their own short stories for our next major assignment. It will be a great opportunity to see everyone’s creative side.”

She also believes prior experience will help her teach the students this year.

“Westlake has a very academically-motivated student body, and I think having taught college-level material before helps me as a high school teacher in that I know what to prepare students for,” Wham-Joyce said. “I’ve always felt passionate about reading and writing. I find getting to know my students very rewarding, and I really enjoy sharing my passion with my students.”

Wham-Joyce recognizes that teaching is an important profession and that understanding English applies to more than just work within the classroom.

“English Language Arts provides us with such great opportunities to think about really important ideas — how we interpret what we see and read in the world, how we communicate our ideas, and how we act and interact as humans in society,” Wham-Joyce said. “Teaching is a wonderful way to keep learning in the center of your life, and I feel pretty lucky to be in that position.”