Introducing: Ms. Shipley

There is always something new at Apex each year, and that includes teachers. Apex High welcomes a plethora of new teachers this year, including Ms. Shipley, who teaches English and ESL. Read this article to learn more about who she is and her thoughts on Apex so far. 

Q: “Hi, would you like to introduce yourself?”

A: “Sure. My name’s Ms. Shipley, or my first name’s Tierney, but Ms. Shipley, I guess, is what people are calling me now. I’m the new Honors English teacher, and I also teach structured writing. Next semester I’ll teach a sheltered class, which is for ESL kids.”

Q: “Where are you from?”

A: “That’s kind of a loaded question. I moved around a lot as a kid, but I went to high school in Juneau, Alaska, so I usually say I’m from Alaska just because it’s where I feel most at home, I guess.”

Q: “Are you new to NC?”

A: “No, so I moved to North Carolina after I graduated from high school. So I’ve been here sort of on and off because I’d move and come back, or go overseas, or whatever. I’ve been here since 2014, so I’ve been here for a while now, so it’s just been kind of on and off. Like, I went to college here and everything.”

Q: “Do you have any prior experience in teaching?”

A: “Yeah, so I got my degree in education, but after I graduated from college, I went and I taught ESL in China for a year. It was different since it was like kindergarteners, but still kind of experience anyway. I taught ESL to kindergarteners, and then I just substitute taught last year.”

Q: “So do you prefer teaching English or ESL, personally?”

A: “Hmm.. I don’t know. Both of them you get to be kind of creative with. I would say maybe English, like the language arts stuff. Literature and everything I enjoy more because I feel like I can delve into deeper projects, or deeper concepts, and deeper conversations. But ESL you can also be super creative with. My class next semester isn’t purely ESL; it’s just like a regular English class; it just so happens that my students will be English language learners. So we’ll cover all the same topics and talk about the same things; we’ll just be working with that sort of language barrier a little bit. But they’ll still be getting the same concepts as everybody else.”

Q: “What made you choose to teach English?”

A: “I feel like this happens with a lot of people, but I had a great English teacher when I was a kid or when I was in high school. I had a great creative writing teacher that really sort of inspired me to want to teach, but I feel like I’ve always wanted to teach. My dad has always been a very education forward type person, and writing and reading has always been a huge part of my life, so all that stuff combined sort of led me here. But I don’t know; I’ve sort of always had a passion for it.”

Q: “Have you had any jobs prior to teaching?”

A: “Yeah, so actually last year when I was substitute teaching, I was also nannying. So I’ve nannied like a couple times. I nannied last year, and then before I got my masters degree, I nannied before that. When I was a teenager and in college, I worked all sorts of retail jobs and whatever else. I worked at Chilis, I worked at a grocery store, I worked at Barnes & Noble, which is mildly related to English. Yeah, I’ve worked all kinds of retail and waitressing stuff.”

Q: “If you could not teach, are there any jobs you would like to pursue?”

A: “If I couldn’t teach? That’s a good question. I think it would be really fun to be a screenwriter. I really love film, and I love creative writing, so it’d be really cool to do screenwriting, or work in a writer’s room of some kind. Especially for horror movies because I love horror movies, so it’d be really fun to write. Stuff like that. It’d also be fun to be a movie reviewer and write maybe a piece in the newspaper every once in a while about movies that are coming out. Anything to do with movies and writing, I feel like would be the perfect job for me.”

Q: “Are there any movies in particular you really like?”

A: “So, I really like horror movies, but I don’t know what my favorite one is right now. Maybe an older one that I really love is An American Werewolf in London, which is like a very funny/scary movie. And a newer one that I really like is Hereditary and Midsommar, they’re by the same director, Ari Aster. I really like his movies; they’re super creepy. Highly recommend.”

Q: “Do you have any other favorites? Like musicians, food, anything else.”

A: “Musicians are hard because I feel like everyone goes through phases a little bit, but I would say always I love these two artists, Hozier, who’s pretty famous, and people know about Hozier. I really love Hozier, I went and saw him in concert in Australia; it was super fun. My other favorite artist is Hiatus Kaiyote, but they do kind of like jazz fusion and R&B. I don’t really know how to describe it; it’s kind of experimental, but they’re very good. They’re kind of like an indie artist, but they’re well known enough in the circle that they are in. But I really like their music.”

Q: “Do you have any hobbies or passions?”

A: “I watch a lot of movies; I’ve recently been watching an extra load of horror movies because it’s gonna be Halloween soon. Well, soon to me, not soon to others, but to me I feel like it’s creeping up on us, so I’ve been watching more horror movies than usual. I also do ultimate frisbee with my friends on Sundays. I do like to cook; I’m not great at cooking, but I like to do it. I like making music, and when I was in college, I was in an acapella group, so I like to do singing and covers of stuff. I love traveling, I haven’t gotten to do it a whole lot this year, but I love traveling. When I lived in China, I tried to travel around there. Last year I went and got my masters degree in Ireland, and when I was in Ireland I didn’t really get to go anywhere because it was locked down for COVID, but just being in Ireland was really exciting. Any chance I get to go on a daytrip or anything to the mountains or the beach, I take that chance.” 

Q: “What are some of your favorite places you have gone to?”

A: “I went to Thailand, and I really liked that; that was a lot of fun. Australia was really cool, I really was only in Melbourne in Australia, but that was super awesome. I went and saw some cool landmarks and got to pet a koala bear, which was really exciting. I got to drive in a car that was on the opposite side of the road. I really loved Ireland. Ireland was cool, but I wish that I had gotten to see it more. Just because I was locked down, I got to pretty much only stay in one spot, but I’d love to go see more of it and more of Europe. In the US, I love Alaska, but I’m kind of biased because I’m from there. My next trip that I really want to take in the United States is either in Salem, Massachusetts because I went there when I was a kid, and it’s one of my favorite little places. It’s so cool. Or I really want to go to New Orleans. Those are next up.”

Q: “I assume the weather in Alaska and North Carolina are pretty vastly different. Which do you prefer?”

A: “That’s a difficult question because I really love rain, and I like cloudy days and everything. I’m pretty tired of summer at this point, and at this point I feel like I prefer Alaska. But when the winter lasts till through May, and I’m ready for it to stop snowing, then I prefer North Carolina. I think I’ll probably say North Carolina overall, just because you kind of get all of the seasons, and in fall you get to enjoy all the leaves changing colors and stuff. In Alaska it’s all evergreens, so the colors don’t change. It’s pretty much rain or snow most of the time.”

Q: “Since you are a new teacher here, what do you think of Apex so far?”
A: “I love it. I am really enjoying it. I feel like I am super lucky to have gotten my first job here, because it seems like there’s lots of resources, and I feel like I am super supported. Everybody that I’ve met has been so supportive and helpful to me. I just really enjoy it. All the kids are super awesome. I love Apex so far, it’s also nice and new, they have this beautiful courtyard, and it’s super cool.” 

Q: “Do you have any advice for any students new to your class?”
A: “I would say to not be too stressed out, I feel like that’s something that I’ve been telling a lot of my students. Especially in my Honors course, I feel like I get a lot of students that feel very concerned about if I am a tough grader or if I am going to give them so much work that they’re overwhelmed and all these things. I remember being that kid that was very stressed about school all the time, and I think my advice would be to breathe and remember that as long as you are trying your best, and you are learning, you are doing fine. And that also you can always come to me and ask questions or ask for help with whatever. But just don’t stress yourself out.”

Ms. Shipley’s advice does not just apply to students taking her class. It is important for everyone to remember to not be stressed about schoolwork and to relax and take things one at a time.

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