English teacher Shannon MacAulay references board for her lesson. (Harry Carson)
English teacher Shannon MacAulay references board for her lesson.

Harry Carson

Shannon MacAulay’s awarded Teacher of the Month for January 2020

February 6, 2020

The doorknob creaked loudly as multiple adults flooded Shannon MacAulay’s English classroom. 

“I thought someone in the class was in trouble. It was during my first period class, and it’s really a good class so I was racking my brain trying to find out who has done something so bad it takes all these adults.” MacAulay said. 

Teacher of the Month had been the last option on her mind as she came inside. 

“I had no idea I didn’t know how the process worked or how that would work for Teacher of the Month. I had no idea what to think. The officer Erkhart had a hard time getting the door open and I was frantic staring at him,” she said. “I was thinking at least he knows my door is locked the way it’s supposed to be.”

Winning came as a shock to MacAulay as this is her first year at Wando. 

“It was a very pleasant surprise because I’m new here and don’t really know that many people,” she said. “I do think people, my colleagues, have seen the interactions I have with my students have picked up on that I genuinely care so I think that’s where it came from.”

Her students feel the same way about her teaching skills.

“She’s very connected with the kids and cares about their issues deeply,” sophomore Peter Thomason said. 

Her main goal is helping and caring for each of her students, she said — it’s always her favorite part. 

“The kids, being goofy with the students trying to make them laugh and I like to find those who may not be excited about poetry for instance, or who may even hate it and then see them start to come around and have a little more appreciation,” MacAulay said. 

Along with caring and helping the kids, she loves to watch them grow into young adults. 

“I love graduations. This is my ninth year teaching and I taught 11th and 12th and there’s a lot of the years. Many of them I taught 11th and 12th, so seeing them go from brand new juniors, all the way through junior year, senior year and college acceptances, that’s always one of my favorite things,” MacAulay said. 

English had always been her passion and something that had fascinated her, she said, andit helps translate to her students. 

“English is a lot more fun when she reads to you and breaks down everything and just doesn’t assign homework with tons of reading for yo\u to at your house,” Thomason said.

“It all started in college, I was at the College of Charleston and I adored my English classes and literature and the way that we are analyzing and the way we were thinking about everything about approaching the world and how I placed myself in the world,” MacAulay said. “The discussions in the classroom were so inspiring to me and I just kinda thought, I wanna do this all the time.” 

It was also in college where she decided that teaching high school would be the best plan of action for her. 

“I initially wanted to teach college level and when I was in graduate school, I didn’t want to publish and pursue a PhD at that time so one of my graduate school mentors suggested that I consider just taking a step down from the college level and consider high school, so I kinda fell into it in a sort of accidental or fortuitous way,” MacAulay said. 

Going into college, she knew teaching to some degree is what she wanted to do that was due to the influence of others. 

“I had, I guess this a typical teacher response, but I had probably two to three teachers in my experience in middle and high school — 25 years later some teachers have become my dearest friends who helped me navigate the world and life at times I didn’t necessarily trust other adults,” she said, “so that was a main factor along with content wise.”

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  • K

    Katherine ClarkApr 15, 2020 at 3:41 PM

    I spoke with Ms. MacAulay just the other day. Her passion for learning from her students and teaching them to expand their thinking is palpable. Her genuine love of thought, the English arts, and her students’ growth is refreshing. I’m so glad to have her in our school system.

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