Teach for America Teacher Q&A with Hannah Twillman

Allison B. Hudson

Your Name: Hannah Twillman

Position, subject you teach: 5th Grade ELA (English Language Arts) Teacher

School: Lowery Elementary

Previous Work or Leadership Experience: Editor-in-Chief, The Vanderbilt Hustler (Vanderbilt University student newspaper) 

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina 

Education: B.S. in Human & Organizational Development and English at Vanderbilt University 

Family: My parents, Keith and Linda, and sister (Leah, junior at College of Charleston) 

Interests and hobbies: Ever since I was a child, I have always loved to read, which is why I am so excited to be getting to teach ELA! I also really began to love to write when I started working as a reporter and copy editor for my college newspaper as a freshman. I was also really fortunate to be able to travel a lot during my college career, which has led me to really love getting to go to new places and learn about new cultures. 

What do you feel are the greatest challenges in education today? -- I think in some instances, the focus of education has shifted away from the primary stakeholders -- the students. It's also incredibly difficult to balance the need for widespread standards to hold educators accountable for student learning while also allowing for individualized learning to address the unique needs and interests of each child. 

What are your goals for your first year of teaching? -- I want all of my students to grow to share my love for reading and writing. I also want each of my fifth graders to become advocates for their own learning -- to know what they want to accomplish and how to work with those around them to make it happen. 

How will you engage students in the classroom? -- I want my students to be able to be leaders of their own learning, so I plan to engage them by giving them a certain degree of independence to choose books and writing topics that most interest them, while showing them how to hold themselves to a high expectations for their own work.