By Michael DeSouza
Ms. Kelly Haggerty is an English teacher at Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech and has been for many years. Before starting her career here, she hadn’t always planned on being a teacher.
“I was in school for microbiology I worked in a lab for several years, I worked at Aquatech… and then later Woodshole analytical. I also worked at the treatment plant for the City of New Bedford and then I changed my major and went to school for sociology. I changed over and… got my masters in English.”
After switching over, she started taught in elementary education for a short time and then decided to teach older kids, starting at Roosevelt Middle School and then teaching high school level at GNBVT. Ms. Haggerty’s favorite part about teaching at the high school level is working with the students.
“I know it sounds corny, but you guys really are our future. My teachers were always very important to me… They were more than a teacher to me; they were part of my life! I try to be that for other kids, not so much to force that but to be available. I think just being available and to listen to kids because a lot of people don’t have that… if there’s anything at all that I can do then I would want to help them out.”
Outside of being a teacher and friend to students, Ms. Haggerty gardens, reads, creates lesson plans, and corrects papers, but mostly the last two activities, as most English teachers do. The time-consuming work hasn’t stopped Ms. Haggerty from wanting to help students, however, she plans to do more for students by getting her doctorate and then starting a program that works with inner-city kids. She describes this program as a way to, “help bridge the gap between the different worlds that they’re in.” By using various works of literature that they may be able to identify with, for example, a favorite book of Ms. Haggerty’s Native Son by Richard Wright could be used. I asked Ms. Haggerty for one piece of advice she would like to share with students and she had this to say:
“Probably the biggest thing I wish kids could realize is that whatever seems serious and important at this point in their life and could destroy you, it won’t. it does get better and it will, but that’s not something you can see when you’re 16, 17, or 18 years old.”