PHS Profile: Courtney Crane

Photo by Michelle Zhou

Courtney Crane has been an instructor of many English courses and electives at PHS for 15 years. She currently teaches Journalism I and English III. She received her college education at the University of Miami in Ohio and has done some graduate work at Rutgers University.

Although she enjoys teaching her English III classes, she takes particular pride in her electives since students from multiple grades work together.

“I like teaching the electives because there are ninth to twelfth grade students in those classes, and I think it’s fun to see how these students interact with one another. I love it when a ninth grader can teach a senior something, and I love it when a senior can take care of any sort of management issues for a freshman,” Crane said. “The post-high-school world isn’t just composed of people of the same age, whether it be your job or what neighborhood you live in.”

Crane’s decision to teach English came from her love of literature and writing.

However, she has not always aimed to be a teacher; she previously wanted to get into the advertising industry, but the idea of a desk job was not appealing to her, and teaching allowed for interaction with others, particularly students.

“I find it awesome any time I get to read poetry books and have discussions about [them] … I think writers, whether they are students or professional writers, can be sensitive about writing, so their work can be very personal. Learning to become a writer is experimental, so sometimes you can be receptive to change and willing to experiment with different kinds of ideas.”

Teaching is not an easy job, and Crane often finds it difficult to keep all students constantly engaged and learning while keeping in mind the range of skill levels in a class.

“Everyday you have to reach and access that wide variety of brains, and you’re trying to excite that curiosity,” Crane said. Even when teaching an AP English class, she would have students with a spectrum of abilities, but the easiest part for her is working with teenage students.

Teenagers…are smart, enthusiastic and willing to learn about all sorts of information,” she said. “They are always trying to establish who they are and what they believe, and having that as an environment to work in five days a week is the best part of being an English teacher.”

However, she has not always aimed to be a teacher; she previously wanted to get into the advertising industry, but the idea of a desk job was not appealing to her, and teaching allowed for interaction with others, particularly students.

Outside of school, Crane is interested in traveling, physics, music (she used to play the violin and piano), and running. However, she does not have much free time because she spends most of her time with her two children.

“It’s science that makes the most sense to me,” Crane said. When asked why she didn’t teach physics instead, she said that “those subjects weren’t as interesting in terms of teaching them, so English was my go-to subject.”

As a member of the English department and a former advisor to the Tower, Crane has had the opportunity to work with many students and much of the faculty, and considers them the best part of working in PHS.

“I just feel extremely fortunate to work with so many interesting, smart, and kind coworkers,” Crane said.

Her advice for high schoolers is to remember to be human and to take advantage of everything the school offers.

“Even though you may not get it now, put your life in perspective as much as you can. Sometimes, going to bed at 9:30 [p.m.] is more important than any homework you could be doing,” Crane said. “Take advantage of how awesome this high school is … Don’t lose sight of that; it’s a real privilege.” But for everyone in general, she advises to simply be kind and have patience.

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