We invite everyone to witness the client-based project showcase of our Provo CAPS students in this...
Alison Van Orden, an English Teacher at Timpview High School, has inspired many people in her twenty-eight years of teaching to enjoy English and school as a whole. Since third grade, Van Orden has been interested in education; she says she loves to read and establish genuine connections in academics. “Beyond the teaching aspect, I have a passion for people, books, and writing.”
An outsider to Provo, Alison Van Orden started schooling as a Springville Red Devil. She grew up with an early love for academics. A self-proclaimed “school nerd” since a young age, Alison created an at-home library, incorporating card catalogs and labeling her books. Those interests blossomed into a desire to teach. “Ever since third grade, I wanted to become an English Teacher, it was always something I loved.”
But teaching didn’t come naturally to Alison. Van Orden attended Brigham Young University right out of high school and started teaching at Timpview at twenty-two. After landing a teaching job at a young age, she had to learn the ups and downs of teaching through trial and error– and, in turn, learn to practice empathy to become a better teacher.
“I had to grow as a person and realize I have to care about things in a classroom that someone wouldn’t naturally care about. I learned how to think about my students’ personal lives and try to understand what students go through outside school.”
When asked how education impacted her daily decisions, Van Orden said that she’s “realized how much people deal with and learned to respect students’ desires to learn and do good, despite how hard life is.”
Van Orden adopted the ability to read and understand students through intuitive teaching. With Van Orden’s years of teaching at Timpview, she has learned to become a more empathetic person. “Seeing student’s courage and struggles has changed me and made me a smarter teacher. A good teacher has to break down complex things and, more than anything, understand the importance of being passionate.”
Students can come away from her class learning that English is more than just a subject, hopefully receiving “a love for words, ideas, and life.”
“I want students to remember that reading is fun. Writing is fun, creative, and expressive, and it’s not formulaic. It’s not a chore; it’s something we do that means something and means something to other people. Reading is an experience where we can read and share experiences.”
When asked why she teaches, Van Orden offered an answer that speaks to the heart and soul of every teacher.
“There’s nothing better than teaching. You impact people’s lives and futures and find what they’re capable of doing. There’s so much good and joy from being a good teacher. Teaching is a great place to be if you care about helping people and are passionate about learning.”