5 Questions with…Jackson Local English Teacher Diana Rankin

Five questions for Diana Rankin on October 23 The phone is 330-830-8000

“My favorite part of teaching is the students.”

Diana Rankin is an English teacher at Jackson Local Schools and says that having taught at different levels over the past 24 years, and regardless of age, her students are the best part of her job.

“I love the energy they bring, their outlook on the world and how they have their whole future ahead of them. I couldn’t have a job where I wasn’t interacting with the kids.

Diana graduated from Maumee High School which, a small suburb outside of Toledo, later graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her major was Secondary English Education with a mention in Reading Instruction K-12. She now lives in North Canton with her husband Andy Rankin, who is an English teacher at Hoover High School. Their daughter Sami, who is a freshman at Hoover High School. The family also has an “almost eight-year-old Weimaraner named Willow.” “I began my career at Marlington High School in 1999 teaching English in Grade 2 and Elementary. I taught there for a year before accepting a position at Jackson Memorial Middle School where I taught a introductory speech class for eighth graders. The following year I moved to seventh grade English/Language Arts (ELA) where I taught for the next 10 years,” said Diana .

Her senior year in college, she taught ELA in grades seven and eight. Then in 2012, she moved to high school and taught a variety of English classes at the sophomore, junior, and senior levels.

Meet Diana Rankin

1. Can you detail what you teach in your English lessons?

This year, I am teaching Accelerated English 10, Accelerated JSA English 10, and English Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller 12. My English 10 classes focus on American Literature. We’ll read classics like “The Great Gatsby,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “Fahrenheit 451.” Students can explore their own interests in reading each term by selecting a novel of choice. We read poetry, editorials, historical speeches, and essays that students examine in our Socratic seminar discussions, their own essays, and projects. This is the first year for Mystery, Suspense and Thriller English 12, which is a semester-long elective English course. We will explore these genres through a variety of texts and mediums. I can’t wait to immerse myself in Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and true crime with them.

2. After 24 years of teaching, what has changed the most during these years and what has remained the same?

In the 24 years I have been in the classroom, the expectations placed on teachers and students have increased exponentially. One of the main areas of stress for students and teachers is

high-stakes tests. The number of tests students take up in their career is astronomical between MAP, AIR, ACT, SAT, AP. school district grades, student future. I’m waiting for the pendulum to swing away from testing, and we may only be at the start. I know many colleges have waived the ACT requirement, which is a step in the right direction. What has remained the same is the school model. We are still teaching and expecting students to learn in a structure that was created over a century ago. We need a model that meets the requirements of state and national legislation that supports 21st century students and teachers. Some of the biggest things that have stayed the same are the teachers’ ability to adapt to whatever is given to them, the teachers’ passion for their students, and the students’ desire to have a place where they feel like they are doing part of a community. .

3. Why did you choose English to teach?

I chose to teach English because I’ve always loved reading and writing, which I know sounds cliché for an English teacher, but it’s true! I love getting lost in a book so much that when it ends, I feel like I’ve left a part of myself in the book. I was also inspired by my four amazing high school English teachers who showed me that English is more than just reading a book and writing a reading report. We explored so many different ideas through such a variety of texts ranging from “Les Miserables” to “The Scarlet Letter” to “The Silence of the Lambs” to Shakespeare to “Slaughterhouse Five” to “Zen and the Art of ‘motorcycle maintenance’. I appreciated the openness of the English class to exploring the issues, characters and events in the texts we read. I saw that English was not about finding the one right answer, but about understanding how languages ​​work together to create meaning. I wanted to create a similar environment in my own classroom, helping my students find their voice both in discussions and in their writing.

4. What are some of your favorite books/authors or passages from a book?

I have so many favorites that I don’t even know where to start. I think “Where the Crawdads Live” by Delia Owens is the perfect book. There’s murder, mystery, love, social issues… It’s all there. I wish I could read it for the first time. As for an audiobook, I love “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett read by Tom Hanks. Between the story itself and the narration of Tom Hanks, it doesn’t get any better! I read in many genres, but some of my favorite words of wisdom come from the transcendentalism movement. Although the authors of this movement were writing two hundred years ago, much of what they say applies today. Henry David Thoreau said, “I know of no more heartening fact than man’s undoubted ability to uplift his life by conscious effort. I find that so encouraging! We have so little control over what happens in our lives, but we can control our response to what happens.

5. What do you do each year during your summer vacation?

My husband and I both teach, so summer is our time to do all the stuff we can’t do during the school year. We visit family, including a trip to Vermont to see my sister and her family and make our annual stop at Ben & Jerry’s headquarters. We also take family vacations to a different place every year. I’m catching up on all the reading I couldn’t do at school. I take the time to keep a journal and try various trades. I try to spend as many days as possible

outside, whether at the swimming pool, taking a walk or working in my flower beds and garden. Like most teachers, I also do the inglorious task of schoolwork – planning for next year, finding new reading material for my students, fine-tuning activities and developing new projects.

Diana Rankin is an English teacher at Jackson Local Schools and says that having taught at different levels over the past 24 years, and regardless of age, her students are the best part of her job.