Ms. Corson, a beloved English teacher at BHS, recently let me ask her some questions about her life. This is her story.
The Eagle’s Cry (TEC): How long have you been teaching for?
Ms. Corson: 30 years.
TEC: What made you decide you wanted to teach and how did you decide to teach English?
Ms. Corson: I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was in 4th grade, and I used to go help out the second grade classes, and I loved that. Reading The Great Gatsby is what turned me into an English teacher.
TEC: What drew you to Duke?
Ms. Corson: To be honest, the recruitment officer came often during my math class, so I’d get out of math class by going to their sessions. But once they showed me the campus and the availability of everything, it seemed like I could just explore all kinds of different interests in one place.
TEC: Why’d you choose Columbia?
Ms. Corson: After I had gone to college in North Carolina (which was beautiful), I knew I had wanted to go to school in the city. I didn’t have the money to go to another city and dorm, so I decided to stay in New York City so I could live at my mother’s house. I applied to Columbia and NYU and I got a fellowship to Columbia, so I went there.
TEC: I know you were an administrator at one point in your career – what made you want to become an administrator, and why did you decide to go back to teaching?
Ms. Corson: I wanted to be an administrator because I wanted to get to know the whole process of going from kindergarten to 12th grade. That was also the best part of being an administrator, getting to see kids’ progress and where they came from and where they were going to. But every time I spent time with the kids as an administrator, whether it was subbing a class or chaperoning a trip or running a poetry night, I would say, “This is my best day ever!” And then I realized, “Wait a second, I could have my best day ever EVERY day!” So I wanted to go back to teaching.
TEC: Many students comment on your always-cheerful attitude. How do you manage to always keep a smile on your face and always stay positive?
Ms. Corson: My students! They always make me laugh and stay positive.
TEC: What is your favorite book to teach, and why?
Ms. Corson: I don’t know…It’s usually whichever book I’m teaching at the moment.
TEC: What is your favorite book to read, and why?
Ms. Corson: The last several years, it’s been Their Eyes Were Watching God. Every time I read it, I think it’s more and more beautiful.
TEC: What one course would you add to BHS’s curriculum, and which, if any, would you drop?
Ms. Corson: One of my kids was talking earlier about how he wishes we had more practical life skills classes, like how to open a bank account and stuff. Senior Sem does some of that, but there just isn’t enough time to do it all. But definitely some course that addresses how to be a grown up would be cool. I don’t think I would drop anything, I think kids should have lots of choices.
TEC: What’s one piece of advice you have for seniors when they make the transition to college?
Ms. Corson: Embrace the opportunity to really get to know yourself as you really are, things that you really love, things that make you feel good about yourself, and let that be your driving force as you move forward.