New English teacher embraces Saratoga High

September 10, 2018 — by Allison Hartley

New English teacher reflects on past high school experience and compares it with that of Saratoga High's.

Emily Wu watched her students flow into her first-period English 10 class for the first day of school on Aug. 16. The classroom became animated as chatting students walked through the door, some even glancing past her as they tried to spot the teacher. 
Just two weeks before the start of school, Wu moved to the area from Orange County, where she grew up and taught for two years at Dana Hills High School. She is teaching four English 10 classes and one English Language Development (ELD) class. 
When she started college at UC Santa Barbara, Wu wanted to become a pharmacist or optometrist. After her second year, though, she realized that she “didn’t want to be in labs for six hours a day.” Following taking a quarter of purely English classes, she dedicated herself to her newfound passion, English, graduating in three years and moving on to receive her teaching credential and a master’s degree in education, also from UCSB. 
Wu said she’s excited to work her way through her first year here, knowing that she will be challenged just as her students will be. 
“Literature is going to be interesting and cultured and have depth, so [the students] are going to learn a lot and going to be shocked a lot,” Wu said. “ELD is also going to be a really hard and also a good, rewarding thing.” 
Wu sees similarities between Saratoga High’s English 10 curriculum and her old school’s curriculum, but feels Saratoga’s is accelerated, with higher expectations of students’ prerequisite knowledge.
She feels that students respond well to her because she is young, but she also said that the sophomores are more reserved than she expected. 
Compared to her former school in Orange County, she said students at Saratoga High also place higher standards on themselves. 
“Students were a little more relaxed there,” Wu said. “They’re beach kids, surfers, skaters.” 
Wu said she misses the laid-back beaches of Los Angeles and her family, but she has always wanted to live in the Bay Area; the welcome Saratoga High has shown has helped. 
On the first day of her old school, about three people said hello to her, whereas about 10 greeted her in her classroom on the first day on the job at Saratoga. 
“People are overly friendly here,” Wu said. “It’s a good thing, though.”
Wu is ready to embrace the change and is already enjoying working with her new students. 
“The students all have so much to offer — to the world and to me,” Wu said. “I think the students will teach me more than I teach them sometimes.”
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