English Major Profile: Connor Sullivan (B.A. 2021)

Connor Sullivan majored in English Education. He currently teaches at the West Prairie Junior/Senior High School in Sciota, Illinois.

M&L: Why did you choose to major in English at Western?

I chose a major in English because it felt like home. I knew I wanted to major in some field of education, and I actually changed to Elementary Education a time or two, but being an English major just felt right. I needed to be taking classes where reading and writing were at the cornerstone of every class. I felt magnetized to Simpkins Hall, to my professors, and to my English major friends. Overall, the English major chose me long before I chose it.

M&L: What is your current job?

As I write this, I am a junior high/high school English teacher at West Prairie Jr/Sr High School in Sciota, IL. I mainly teach eighth graders at West Prairie, but I also teach sophomores.

M&L: How did your study of English help you to succeed in your career?

My time in Western’s English Education program prepared me immensely for my career in teaching. I use a lot of the action strategies I learned in Dr. White’s ENG 466 class every week; to name a few, body biographies, character journals, one pagers, double-entry journals, etc. These strategies have been especially helpful in hooking my reluctant readers. I’ve had parents tell me that they’re shocked their kid comes home excited to share about the book we’re reading in class. I also have Dr. Buchanan and Professor Barb Lawhorn to thank for my success, as I implement a lot of their writing strategies and lessons. In fact, the three of us partnered in the Spring of 2021 to create an after-school writing club for junior high students.

M&L: What were some of your best experiences as a student in English at Western?

I really value the friends I made during my time as an English Education major. We became very close during our clinical experiences and method classes. We still send messages and bounce lesson ideas off each other in the group chat we started.

M&L: What advice would you give to students considering studying English here at Western?

If I could give a piece of advice to any student considering a major in English or English Education at Western, I’d say this: Take an English class outside of ENG 180 and 280 just for the hell of it (and to see how awesome English classes are). Get to know the professors; they’re all so supportive and wonderful. Go to their office hours and ask them to share a little bit of their literary interests and influences. Visit the student lounge. Ask English majors and minors what led them to their decision to major/minor in English. Explore the rich history of Simpkins Hall––but just know, Simpkins has a way of pulling you in and never letting you go.