Unsung Hero: Andrew Smyth

Adrianna Rochester – General Assignment Reporter

English professor, Andrew Smyth teaches secondary English education where he specializes in grammar, linguistics, writing and fieldwork supervision.

Smyth’s main goal in the secondary English program is to train students into becoming future teachers by enabling them with skills needed to not only understand the English language, but to also translate their interpretation  in a way that others can also formulate their own interpretation and understanding of English.

“I teach a grammar class that focuses on being able to explain the English language and less on proper punctuation, grammar and more,” Smyth said.

Prior to becoming a professor, Smyth said while he was in college he was inspired by his professor’s passion for education. Due to his professor’s seriousness for their profession and desire to spread knowledge of the English language, Smyth said he was able to absorb some of that passion to make his own.

“When it came time to think of a career move,” said Smyth, “I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else other than teaching.”

When asked what were some key lessons that stuck with him, Smyth said that his professors stressed the importance to not rush through literature.

“Reading takes time,” Smyth said, “the more you rush, the more you miss out on both the context and the story that’s being conveyed.”

“I want to be able to prepare future teachers,” Smyth said “knowing that one day they will be the ones to further teach the English language to students is very inspiring to me.”

Along with teaching classes at Southern, Smyth said he travels to various secondary schools to supervise student teachers in different grade levels.

“Watching these individuals transform from student learning to now being a teacher, teaching students is very rewarding to witness,” Smyth said.

Throughout the course of his career, Smyth said he has noticed the English language is constantly evolving, which allows individuals to think in new directions.

For example, Smyth said he found himself researching animal studies and how they are incorporated into human lives, in translation to pets and the way we treat or house them.

“I’ve also found myself doing more research on comics and have used them as part of my course material,” Smyth said, “which is mind blowing because 20 years ago I wouldn’t have thought about using those methods to teach my students.”

“When it comes to teaching, especially teaching teenagers, it is important to be patient. Every student learns differently and every student has a different personality, so, as teachers, getting to know each of your students is very important to their learning experience, Smyth said, “and they’re able to then interpret the skills being taught more efficiently.”

Photo Credit: Adrianna Rochester

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