Teacher Feature: Dr. Ethan Reed
LuHi’s talented and passionate teaching faculty play key roles in our mission to educate students in body, mind, and spirit. LuHi’s communications interns are taking on the task of interviewing and sharing more about these incredible educators. This week, Sophia ’22 interviewed Dr. Ethan Reed, who teaches in the English Department. Dr. Reed joined the LuHi faculty in the fall of 2020. He currently teaches English 11, English 11H, and a senior-level Creative Writing class. Dr. Reed is also involved in the Essence Magazine, and coaches Middle School Boys Soccer. Let’s get to know Dr. Reed better!
What has been your favorite experience while teaching at LuHi?
I have many! One that stands out in recent memory is from a senior-level creative writing class. These students did a lot of workshopping: sharing their work with each other, providing feedback, and so on. I think opening up and sharing your writing with others can be an intimidating prospect, especially if what you’re sharing is a rough draft. But by the end of the semester, students in this class had become genuinely excited to read their peers’ work and share what they had written. It was amazing! The trust and sense of community in the classroom showed in their enthusiasm and support for each other. As a teacher, that felt special.
What do you think is the most important aspect of an English class?
A lot of important things happen in an English class! For all that to work, though, I think the class needs to be founded on trust and mutual respect. Everyone in the room needs to feel that they are supported by everyone else—that they can express their ideas and listen to the ideas of others in a positive space. I think it’s this kind of support that helps us to take on the productive challenges that allow us to learn and grow!
What do you hope students are gaining from your classes this year?
I think an English classroom offers a special combination for students. They get to practice skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives (writing, reading, and thinking critically!). But they also get to explore “big questions” by reading and discussing works of literature–think of how much a good book can have to say about life!
What has been your greatest challenge as a teacher and how did you overcome it?
I think adjusting to a socially-distanced, hybrid classroom last year was a real challenge. A lot goes into creating a great lesson, unit, or classroom experience, and it sometimes felt overwhelming to try to make all that happen in the new setting with additional constraints. That said, I am very grateful that we’ve been able to continue operating as we have as a school. I can’t say enough about the work that my colleagues and administrators put in to make it all possible–it’s been a real team effort, and everyone has gone above and beyond. So, even if it sometimes felt overwhelming, the support provided by the community here really helped me through those challenging moments.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given about teaching and how have you used it throughout your career?
Some advice that has helped me is to make sure that, while I’m taking care of everything else, I don’t forget to take care of myself too. Especially during challenging times! I think it’s possible to lose sight of that sometimes if what you’re working on really matters to you, but it’s hard to be your best self and do your best work if there’s no fuel in your tank. In my experience, the same has gone for me being the best teacher that I can be. It’s important to take care of yourself.
Share a bit about the Essence club and the importance of sharing your writing with others:
Essence is LuHi’s art and literary magazine, and the Essence club is a space for students to get creative and have fun making and thinking about art and literature. I think it can be really valuable when students have a space to share their artwork and writing with each other and with the school community. The Essence club also gives students a chance to see how a space like that is created because they’re the ones who collaborate to design, produce, and publish their classmates’ work.
Tell us about your time coaching the MS Boys Soccer team:
I co-coached the MS Boys Soccer team this Fall with Mr. Raba, who also teaches at LuHi. Our team was amazing! We were small in number but mighty in spirit. There were some games I recall where we were seriously outnumbered by the opposing team, but played with the kind of heart and determination you can only hope for as a coach. It was also meaningful to get to see how everyone grew over the course of the season, both as individual players and as a team.
How do you want students to remember you and your class after the year/semester is finished?
I hope that students feel confident in themselves as independent thinkers, and empowered to bring everything that they’ve learned into whatever comes next for them. When students look back at an English class that I’ve taught at LuHi, I hope they feel that they had a space where they could learn, grow, and take on challenges in the classroom; where they could speak and be heard by me and by their peers; and where they felt a sense of belonging in the learning community that we created together as a class.