English Student Spotlight: Brittany Copeland

June 1, 2020 By Sam Buzby
Brittany Copeland

Student Spotlight: Brittany Copeland

BAE English Secondary Education

Image of Brittany CopelandBrittany Copeland is a student in the EWU Teacher Preparation Program majoring in Secondary English Education. She graduates in Spring 2020.

What projects have you worked on that you would like to highlight?

I am so excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with my students from my placement school. To ensure the safety and well-being of teacher candidates and the K-12 students during the current health crisis, student teaching internships were understandably canceled for spring quarter. Thankfully, I have been fortunate enough to continue to work with my mentor teacher, Maria Sturgeon at Ferris High School, on a volunteer basis.

Mrs. Sturgeon has had a profound impact on my education and my growth both professionally and personally. Through these difficult times, she has allowed me to support, teach, and learn from my high school English students through distance learning. This has been an exciting adjustment, and it is not lost on me that this is an amazing opportunity I have been given. My hope is to support Mrs. Sturgeon and our incredible students as we adjust to a new model of learning.

How have your EWU experiences shaped you?

Being a post-baccalaureate, non-traditional student has been a unique experience. It’s been a challenge balancing my family and my own pursuits. Thankfully, my husband and children have been supportive and excited about my endeavors. They have cheered me on which has given me even more drive to do well. I’ve really had to learn to prioritize what’s important as I balance caring for my family with my education. I’ve had to cut back on distractions and trivialities. This second experience at the university has really given me the drive to cultivate a life of simplicity and togetherness for my family.

I’ve gained a new appreciation for classic literature that I’d like to share with my students. When I first joined the Secondary English program, I told my advisor, Sean Agriss, that I believed in helping students learn to love to read. At the time I thought the best way to do that was through Young Adult Literature. Agriss certainly knew something I didn’t and encouraged me to embrace classic literature as part of my personal canon.

While I still feel YA literature can have a profound impact on students, I believe studying classic literature allows us to connect to people across time and space through common human experiences. The best pieces of literature contain these Easter Eggs, like those surprise connections you might catch in a Pixar film. However, the reference isn’t to the first movie in the series. Instead, the reference is to you or the world you live in, even though the work was written some 150 years before you were born.

I really believe the stories we read shape and sometimes validate who we are, and I hope to instill a strong desire to make these connections in my students. Agriss and the English Department at EWU have really shaped my approach to education. I am eternally grateful for their wisdom and support.

What important lessons or tips do you have for future students?

Enjoy your life. Enjoy the moments you’re in. Allow yourself to feel the good and the bad. Continue to grow. Continue to fail and learn from your failures. Call your grandparents. Send thank you cards.

Do you have anything else you would like to share with readers?

In the coming years, I see myself getting a handle on teaching English to secondary students. That said, I’m not ready to fast forward five years. Let time crawl so that I may breathe in every precious moment of my life with my husband and children.