Rachel Neathery

English teacher Laura Guilmartin plans future lessons at her desk during her free block.

Laura Guilmartin

An avid reader, English teacher Laura Guilmartin has a plethora of favorite authors and books she reads throughout the year. After getting her master degree in 2015, she was a teacher for seven years at Justice High School before transitioning to CHS.

How is the transition coming back from virtual learning?

Seeing people one-on-one has just been wonderful. It’s really great to actually get to hear students’ thoughts again. 

Why did you decide to teach?

After I graduated from college, I was hired as a government contractor for five years in Arlington, VA. I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled or totally happy with that job, so I decided to tutor for a while to see if I enjoyed working with students. I found I loved working with them, and talking about how to analyze their reading. I just fell in love with [teaching] and decided to go to get my graduate degree after that.

What inspired you to teach English?

There are probably a couple of things that inspired me first. My mom was a preschool teacher for 35 years and just retired. Watching how much she enjoyed working with students inspired me to think about teaching. I also [think] back to my English teachers and [all the discussions] we had about books. Noticing how passionate [my seventh grade English teacher] was about the subject and how much everybody loved going to his class really inspired me to teach English.

What are your favorite authors and why?

I really enjoy reading books by Anne Tyler, I just finished one in fact. I also enjoy Kazuo Ishiguro, a British novelist who writes sci-fi and dystopian books that take place in the British countryside. It’s a really interesting combination.

Do you have any plans for this school year? What books are going to be read in class?

I am looking forward to what we’ll be reading this year. I’m currently rereading “A Lesson Before Dying,” which we’ll be teaching the honor sophomore classes, and as I’m reading that, I’m really excited to talk about the big ideas in that text. We’re doing short story units with both the freshmen and the sophomores. Going through some of my favorite stories, while being able to share and explore those [books] with students is quite fun.

Why did you decide to teach at CHS?

I decided to go to Chantilly partly because I will probably be moving out this way fairly soon, and I was looking for a little change. I have been teaching at the same school my entire career, and I heard wonderful things about Chantilly, and wanted to see what the school had to offer.

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