Texas Woman’s University alumna Emily Ramser became an English teacher that promised to give young students an opportunity to explore their creative minds while in high school, and she created a curriculum for students to be more involved in the writing process.
The curriculum she created allows for students to choose their topic to write about and submit their work to various publishers. She also allows them to publish their pieces to showcase their hard work.
In 2016, Ramser earned two bachelor’s degrees from Salem College in North Carolina. She then came to TWU and earned two master’s degrees in English and teaching, graduating in 2020.
Ramser said her inspiration to be a teacher who gives students opportunities stemmed from her high school English teacher, Mr. Belcher. He worked with her to publish her writing in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
“It seems rather unfair to students to wait that long to tell them their voices matter enough to publish as well,” Ramser said. “In the program that I work in, one of the things we think about is allowing students to become actual participants in their academic communities, and one of the things with that is sharing their voice, sharing their work, and publishing.”
The curriculum for her AP English class consists of various topics they learn about; however, Ramser offers students the freedom to pick the book or topic when writing. She must approve the topic or book before students begin their work. Each reading is tied with different options to publish their work to places such as the New York Times or the Scholastic Writing Awards, Ramser said.
“If I allow students to pick a topic, pick their format, do whatever else, they’re going to care a lot more,” said Ramser. “[Topics] can be anything their heart desires based on what they are interested in and what they want to learn about.”
Ramser’s high school curriculum in class activity was inspired by her TWU English professor, Gretchen Busl. In Busl’s class, Ramser and other students had the freedom to choose what kind of essay they would like to do and the topic they pleased.
Teaching the students why writing is so important and how they will use writing later in life helps the students care more about writing, Ramser said.
“By allowing students to publish their work, we’re giving them a voice and showing that their work matters,” Ramser said.
Ramser started off her writing career writing fanfiction in her freshman year of high school. She started to gain followers and people were reading her stories. Ramser said she knew she wanted to be a writer then.
“I love how writing allows me to share my ideas and thoughts, but also share other people’s ideas, because your voice matters,” Ramser said.
Deanna West can be reached via email at email@example.com.