Sunday Conversation: House loves art, literature, traveling

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Claudia House and her son Ryan, who is preparing to attend a Boy Scout World Scout Jamboree in Japan in this October 2015 photo.
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Claudia House is a mother, world traveler, pet owner and defender of proper grammar as an English teacher at Shelbyville Central High School.

To nominate someone for Sunday Conversation, email Sadie Fowler at sfowler@t-g.com.

T-G: What is your title at SCHS and what classes do you teach?

Claudia House in Monte Carlo during a trip to France and Switzerland.
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House: My title is English teacher and I teach AP Senior English, Language Arts 4 and NHS Service Learning Leadership class.

T-G: General background as a teacher (number of years, the schools you taught at).

House: I have been teaching for 28 years; I started teaching at the college level -- at Draughn's Junior College for one-and-a-half years, at MTSU as an adjunct for two years and at Nashville State Community College full time for 13 years. I have been teaching at SCHS, my alma mater, for the past 14 years.

T-G: What are the "extras" you do? (NHS, tutoring, etc.)

House and friends seeing a Broadway play at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
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House: I am also the National Honor Society (NHS) sponsor and the site coordinator for the before and after school tutoring program at SCHS.

House at a National Honor Society induction.
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T-G: What do you enjoy about teaching? What is one challenge to teaching?

House: My favorite thing about teaching is learning from my students and seeing that spark of understanding on their faces when they make a connection or learn something new.

The biggest challenge currently facing education is constant changes from both the state and federal government; curriculum changes are often decided upon by people who haven't been a day-to-day teacher in years and it changes so quickly that we frequently have to change what we are teaching and how we are teaching it before we have a chance to see if what we are doing is benefiting our students.

T-G: What is your biggest pet peeve on grammar/other writing rule?

House: My biggest grammar pet peeve is when people put a comma before the word "because" when it's in the middle of a sentence. This makes me shudder because a comma doesn't need to go there!

Jed, House's Dachshund.
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T-G: What has been one of your favorite experiences as a teacher?

House: One of my fondest teaching memories is taking a group of AP students to see the Hudson River Valley artists exhibit at the Frist; I had a student who told me after we went that he really wasn't expecting to enjoy going to see an art exhibit, but he had no idea that art could capture nature like that! Just the look of awe on his face as he experienced that exhibit was priceless. Probably my favorite part of teaching is being lucky enough to stay in touch with so many of my former students; I am also lucky to get to teach with several of my former students who are now on the faculty at SCHS.

T-G: Please name your family members.

House: I have a son Ryan who is 16 and a Dachshund named Jed who runs our house. Jed thinks he's in charge of all of us and he's picked me as his person, so he will growl at my son if Jed is curled up on my lap as if to say "It's my time with her! Back off!" If he's hungry or wants something, he will search around in my son's room until he finds a sock and then run off with it to wherever what he wants is so that we will chase him to get the sock back. His favorite thing to do on the weekend is to sit in the front bay window and watch the neighborhood. He's just hilarious!

T-G: I believe you are a graduate of SCHS? Where did you attend college?

House: I am a proud SCHS graduate; I attended Middle Tennessee State University for both my bachelor's and my master's degrees.

T-G: What is your favorite book and why?

House: My favorite book is "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, my favorite writer. I love it because the way Marquez expresses his ideas is like poetry. The way he blends reality and fantasy is breathtaking!

T-G: Do you have a bucket list item?

House: I still have SO many things on my bucket list! Right now my top three things are to go zip lining, see a play at the Globe Theater and travel to Greece.

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