Allisen Merrill

Allisen Merrill
High School ELA
1210

This is my third year teaching, but it is also my second career. Before I was a teacher I worked with clients who had mental illness and developmental delays, I was part of the WebServices and Payments team at Amazon.com, and I worked in the banking industry. I guess you could say that I LOVE learning, which is why I was always open for a new path and/or challenge!

This is my second year at STEP academy, but I look forward to the future, and I hope that that includes many years working with these amazing students and co-workers!

I love teaching about writers who aren’t canonized. I think that the systematic oppression that occurs within so many communities in our world (even the art community) is sad. I love giving students a broad range of poets and authors to experience. Most importantly, because we serve a population that isn’t represented in the traditional literary cannon, I love giving students the opportunity to experience people who they can see themselves in. These authors and poets, because of their fringe status, are often those who are most poignant; they see the world through a critical lens and they aren’t afraid to tackle the issues that they see with the world.

I taught in a STEM academy at my last school, and while I was there I learned that the best way to integrate STEM into an English curriculum is to work with the teachers of other content areas to help students build connections across the curriculum. I plan to work with teachers to create lessons that help students to make connections. I can do this many ways (because English is so all encompassing), but most importantly, students need to learn how to analyze and digest academic language. I work with students each week on an academic article of the week. During first quarter we are easing our way into this concept, but as the school year goes on these articles will change to integrate math, science, technology, and engineering topics. In addition to this, I have projects that we will work on that are STEM focused throughout the year.

Before I started teaching I did so many things: I worked with developmentally disabled adults as well as adults with mental illness; I was a team member on the WebServices, MechanicalTurk, and Payments teams at Amazon.com; I worked in the banking industry; I was a home daycare owner/operator; finally, I was a stay at home mom. Whew—that’s a lot of semi-colons for one girl!

I enjoy crocheting, hiking, traveling through Minnesota and being a “tourist in my own state,” spending lots of time with my family, watching Slam Poetry, Reading, writing, and taking long, luxurious baths.

I became an educator because I love English. I have this passion for my subject matter that truly propels every decision I make and lesson I teach. While I understand that not ALL students will love my content area, I also know that it is one of the most essential subjects they will take because it ties into all subject matter. I love English. I love helping people. Becoming a teacher was what I was destined to do.