This issue’s recurring segment that gives students the opportunity to learn more about the teachers they see every day, staffer Francisca Giuliani interviews English 3 Honors and English 4 Regular teacher Julie Klitzner.
What has been your best experience as a teacher?
I love seeing students develop as newspaper writers and being able to write in a different format, not just high school essays and poetry, since I taught Journalism and I currently teach English. I also really enjoyed teaching students about the first amendment rights for journalists and incorporating that into their writing.
Do you have a background in Journalism and if so, for how long did you work in the journalism field?
My background actually started in high school, where I wrote for the school newspaper, and became a newspaper editor at South Broward High School; go Bulldogs! I then went to the University of Florida, where I majored in Journalism and Communications. After college, I worked for a public relations firm and at the firm, I wrote public relation type news and articles promoting businesses, where it was published in the newspaper. I worked at the public relations firm for about five years and enjoyed it very much.
What is it like having to switch between teaching English and journalism?
The writing between English and journalism is completely different. And as I say to my students, it is like eating at two different restaurants: a fast food restaurant and a fancy restaurant. When you are teaching journalism students how to write news stories, they have to forget about the five-paragraph essay structure and write according to the order of importance. A news article requires getting the most important information out there first, rather than the build-up in an essay.
Out of all the grades, why did you choose to teach juniors?
To me, the 11th grade is really the most important year for English class because that is when the students have become young adults and they are starting to think independently. I like watching [junior students] grow and learn how to analyze and form their own opinions. Another important aspect to 11th grade is helping the students prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and applying to college.
When and why did you become a teacher?
I always loved school and when my kids were little, I taught preschool. Later in life, I was busy working and raising my kids, since I worked different part-time jobs. [I worked these part-time jobs] so I could be at home and contribute to the family. However, when my younger son was getting ready to graduate high school, I told myself I would really miss teaching school, so I decided to go back and become an English teacher.
As a teacher, what is your opinion of technology?
I find technology extremely helpful and I like the fact that our generation can get an answer instantly when a new question comes up in the classroom. Everybody can do a quick search and interact with each other, while finding the information. I also think technology is really great for writing assignments and essays for English, where students can access editing tools online.
What is one important lesson your students have taught you?
My students have really taught me to not be judgmental because of how everything is changing in the world, mostly in the last ten years. I find my classes to be much more accepting of different lifestyles, races, religions and ethnicities. Weston, in general, has changed over the past ten years with all types of religions, races and more, which is reflected in my students.
If you could give one piece of advice to students, what would it be?
[One piece of advice I would give to students is] to always try your best in whatever it is you are doing. It doesn’t matter if you are an A student or a C student, you should try your hardest and be motivated to succeed, which is the key to being successful.