Book worm. Bibliophile. Word nerd. Cameron High School AP English Teacher Whitney Healy has heard them all. As a lover of all things literature, Mrs. Healy said she genuinely enjoys the fact that her job doesn’t feel like work.
“I enter the building every day knowing it will be new, exciting, and different, understanding that I get to spend the rest of my day discussing what I love most: literature and writing. It may sound cliché, but it’s honest.”
As a teacher of AP Literature, English 9 Honors, English 11, Reading 7, and Middle/High School Theatre, Mrs. Healy often wears many hats. Inspired by her own AP Literature teacher to study Secondary Education and English, she said she knew teaching was her calling after just one day of clinicals.
“On my first day at Milton Middle School in Hurricane, the teacher told me to read out answers to a multiple choice test her sixth graders had been working on. I sat at the front of the room on a stool, no idea what I was doing, read the answers, and as the flickers of ‘Yes!’ and ‘I got that one right, too!’ crossed the room, there it was: this was what I was meant to do.”
Mrs. Healy began teaching at the start of the 2010-2011 school year in Wetzel County at Valley High School, where she taught English 9 and English 10. The next year, she moved to a full-time position with Marshall County Schools at Cameron High School. Since working at CHS, she has taught every grade level from 6-12.
“I have spent my whole career teaching in rural schools – and there is really something to be said about that dynamic. Less than five miles away from my residence are both a middle and a high school, but when I started working in Wetzel County – way out there in an area I’d never heard of – something clicked. To me, teaching in a rural school with smaller classes, fewer faculty and a more ‘family feel’, has allowed me to really take interest in each individual student.”
When she began working at Cameron High School, Mrs. Healy said she experienced that same “family feeling.”
“There’s something about the stereotypical small town where everyone knows everyone. We genuinely know our students, their struggles, their families, their home life and everything else. In some cases, I know I may be the only positive adult role model in these students’ lives, and so I stay. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
One of her favorite success stories as a teacher involved a young lady who reminded Mrs. Healy of herself at that age. She said this student considered quitting AP English because she had doubts that she could succeed. Mrs. Healy knew otherwise.
“One day, I had her stay after class, and I suggested she reconsider. I told her I thought she had the tools to pass and asked her to think about it one more time. She stayed. When the July scores came, I crossed my fingers, knowing that if she didn’t pass, I would feel as if I had misled her. That couldn’t happen. She got the highest score out of everyone in the class, passing with a 4. She had done it. Today, Layne and I still keep in touch, mainly using Bernie Sanders memes, Instagram likes, and the message here and there, but she is still one of the students I admire most. This Christmas, I received my own “thanks” from her – and an invitation to her wedding.”
As a lifelong learner and someone who was awarded the “Rockstar Teacher” award by her county superintendent, Mrs. Healy said she will never stop loving her role as a West Virginia educator.
“I continue to focus on educating and inspiring these young people, hoping to instill the same lifelong love of learning, literature, and writing I have always had. Educating people is most certainly my ‘calling’ – I have no doubts about it. One day, I hope to pass on the same passion for education onto other educators.”