Faculty Spotlight: Anne Chabreck, Chair, English Department
What classes do you teach?
I teach English IV College Prep and Honors, and Advanced Placement English Language and Composition.
Where did you go to college? What is your degree(s) or field of study?
Bachelor of Music (focus on flute performance) and English Literature (focus on British Literature) at Loyola University in New Orleans in 2002
Master of Music (flute performance) at LSU in 2004
Education classes for my teaching certificate completed at UNO
What is the most interesting part of your job?
The most interesting part of my job is helping students to understand the evolution of the English language. The best part of my job is watching them experience how beautiful it can be. Students who understand a Shakespearean sonnet or a piece of Swiftian satire for the first time are captivated—they become part of the written tradition of our language, and they see how it applies to the modern world.
How long have you been working for Holy Cross School?
This is my ninth year at Holy Cross. I taught middle school for two years, then for two years I taught a combination of middle and high school. I’ve taught a full schedule of high school classes for five years.
What is one thing that you think makes Holy Cross School a special place?
The faculty’s connection to the students makes Holy Cross special. My first groups of Holy Cross students are graduating from college, and it is a blessing to see them grow up, succeed in college, and begin careers. I’m always amazed to see groups of alumni coming back to visit and to talk about their lives after Holy Cross. Hearing their successes makes every late-night essay-grading session worth it.
Tell us about your favorite memory from your time teaching at Holy Cross School?
I taught many members of last year’s graduating class four times—in fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh grades. When they were in fifth grade, they read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a book about a boy who struggles with ADHD. In the book, Joey steals and devours an entire shoofly pie while on a field trip. When we finished the book, I had a dozen pies shipped from Pennsylvania. We had our own Joey Pigza moment on the steps of the middle school building. Six years later, after these same students took the AP test, they swarmed (loudly!) into my classroom to tell me about how well they had done. They were so excited to be finished, and they knew that they had done well. It’s a shining memory for me because they are so close to my heart. It was an honor to be their teacher, especially since I got to watch them grow up. They were right; they scored especially well on that test. I can’t wait to hear about their next accomplishments!
Tell us about your teaching philosophy.
In an English class, there are three goals: students must learn to think critically, read deeply, and write clearly. These three skills must be learned concurrently, and they take years to develop. It’s my job to meet each student where he is and move him forward. Students need these skills to be informed citizens and good men, so no matter how hard the year is, these skills are non-negotiable. To cultivate them, my students read difficult texts, learn research practices, study complex issues, and practice analysis in class discussions and in writings.