By D MARCUS ESTES and LILY VILLA GARCIA
Sarah Haskett’s Room 33 is often viewed as an academic sanctuary, a room where students can feel safe and welcomed. An English and creative writing teacher, Haskett puts passion behind her pen, encouraging students to embrace their creativity, and expressing that it’s okay to be a work in progress and a masterpiece all at once. She embodies what many refer to as the golden rule: “Treat others how you wish to be treated,” providing students with a safe place to talk and creating an impact not just in her classroom but throughout the school. Her judgement-free zone attracts students of all ages, past and present, as well as faculty.
Tower News sat down with Sarah Haskett for an interview to explore the inclusivity found in her classroom.
Tower News: Why do you think students reach out to you for advice or help with a problem?
Sarah Haskett: I want to be for my students the kind of person they know they can go to if they need to talk to someone. I will never approach anyone with judgement, and so if they come to me with something they’re afraid they’ll be judged on, I automatically want them to know that “Hey, if all you get out of this is knowing that someone in the world cares about you, then I’ve done my job.”
TN: Why did you choose to be an English/Creative Writing teacher?
SH: So, my mom was an English teacher for (around) 35 years, so English was definitely in my DNA, and I grew up reading books. I was always a veracious reader. I’ve always loved English, reading (and) writing. I think there’s a lot of freedom in the subject and it allows me to get to know my students.
TN: What do you hope your students take with them after they leave your class?
SH: I hope they can understand that they can be a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time. There’s something in here that makes them think, and there’s also something in here that makes them laugh. … That’s usually my dad jokes.
TN: What drives you to connect with your students on a personal level?
SH: In stereotypical high school movies, there’s always that one teacher the students can always go to and it’s always so beautiful and wonderful. I actually didn’t have that when I was in high school. I didn’t like high school. I was suffering as a teen. I didn’t really feel like I had found my place and I was trying too hard to fit in, so it took me a while to find out who I was. When I became a teacher, I decided I wanted to be the kind of teacher that I didn’t get as a student. So, I wanted to be the kind who is not just there to teach a subject, but to also show my students that I care about (them). No matter who you are, where you are, or what’s going on in your life, I’m here for you and I care about you. So, I leave my door open for current and past students and hopefully I’ve succeeded, and my students know that.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
D Marcus Estes is a junior Journalism student at Manteca High School. Estes plays the small forward position in basketball and spends most of his time working on things important to him, such as school, music, basketball, and journalism.
Lily Villa Garcia is a senior Journalism student at Manteca High. Among many hobbies, her favorites are writing, shopping, sleeping, and binge-watching shows. One day she hopes to become successful and travel the world, until then she is taking one step at a time.