Katherine Subu-Practicing a Pedagogy of Compassion

Faculty Shout-Out by Dr. Hui-Ling Malone: “In just this academic year, Kat has taken three of my classes. Throughout the year Kat has been laser focused and highly engaged. I can see that she completes assignments not just to “check the boxes” but so that they are meaningful to her growth and the wider teaching community. Kat has excelled all while being a mom of two young girls! The memoir she wrote in ENG413 was raw and breathtaking- I was shook for days! I am so excited for Kat’s future and how she will impact the field of English Education.”

How would you describe your time as an English or Film Studies major at MSU?

My time at MSU has been full of personal growth and knowledge. I entered the program with an initial love for English and a desire to pass that love on to students. I am leaving the program with a vast understanding of what it means to teach with a critical lens through the pedagogy of compassion. I knew that teaching was something that required love, patience, and passion, but had no idea the depth each of those categories requires to succeed as an educator and help learners succeed as students. The professors in the English department truly love what they do and reflect that in their teachings. This has been one of the most positive experiences of my life, and I look forward to perpetuating that positivity in my own classroom.

Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

I was fortunate enough to experience the teachings of many wonderful professors, however there are some that have stood out in my time at MSU. Professor Zack Kruze solidified my love for literature and critical reading in ENG 210 Foundations of Literary Study. His passion for all mediums in literature was infectious and motivated me from my first semester to do my best to maintain my own passion within my field of study. Dr. Hui-Ling Malone was another incredible resource for information and inspiration in ENG 408 Critical Literacies and Communities, ENG 308 Readings in Literature for Young Adults, and ENG 413 Critical Questions in Language and Composition. Dr. Malone established both a positive relationship with my cohort and a genuine compassion for literary studies and teachings. After completing her courses, I feel confident that I will be able to continue that compassion and knowledge in my own classroom. She encouraged writing and finding our own voices, while also educating us on how to do so with our own learners. Her methods of teachings were incredibly helpful in preparing us for our future endeavors.

What advice would you give future English or Film Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?

I would advise building relationships with both your professors and your cohort. Both are a vast wealth of information that will be beneficial in your practices within the classroom. Take advantage of the many opportunities to practice teaching methods and use any “failures” as a growing point rather than a point of contention. There are so many valuable resources within the English department so building those relationships will benefit you in the present and the future.

What coursework-related projects were/are you working on this year, and what interests or excites you about them?

I’ve been working on writing my own #DisruptText guides with both young adult literature and other anchor texts commonly utilized within the secondary education English classroom. This has not only given me opportunity to look at the texts through a critical lens, but has also helped guide me in potential unit and lesson planning. I have also been work shopping unit plans for teaching with multi mogul media such as graphic novels, podcasts, music, and performing arts. While my love for written literature is a staple, the benefits of teaching multi mogul media opens the doors for all dynamics of learners.

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?

I will be entering my internship in the fall and hope to gain insight on what it is really like within a classroom. My hopes are to build on my education and passion for ELA studies and pass that love and knowledge onto my students. I will be returning for my Masters Degree in Education after a couple of years in my own classroom, and have a pull towards teaching higher education in the future. I am incredibly passionate about teaching secondary level students about literature and language arts, but would love to be able to perpetuate that to other future educators as well.

If you’re interested in doing so, please reflect a bit on the strange experience of being a graduating senior during the ongoing pandemic. What resources have been most useful to you in navigating this unprecedented situation?

It was difficult to transition to virtual learning at the head of the Covid pandemic, but through trial and error, have found that it has exemplified my ability to seek out resources outside of the college classrooms. While I prefer to be in class and hands on, the autonomy that virtual learning has provided will only strengthen my abilities in the future. I know a lot of people have struggled with this, myself included, but by taking each semester in stride I was able to build my confidence in myself and my abilities by taking my education and learning into my own hands.