Meet Ashley Pendleton, English and English Education

A Passion for Teaching

I always wanted to be a teacher. I remember being in intermediate school (so about fifth or sixth grade) and just thinking that I loved being there. I loved that one of my teachers had a reading carpet and would have students come up with little stories.

I decided that I should focus on teaching high school. I really love how with high school students you can inspire them and help them develop their potential. My high school biology and choir teacher gave me that. I didn’t know if I really believed that I could do well until he believed in me. I think that is something that you can work on with high schoolers and that is something I want to do with my students.

I toyed around with what subject I wanted to teach, but I focused on the fact that I love talking about reading and writing. I love reading and editing papers, which is really weird, but I that’s how I decided on my majors: English and English education. I realized that having an English major also is beneficial in case I wanted to do something else with the English field.


Loving William Woods at First Sight

William Woods was the first and last school I toured. It just felt like home. Everybody was so nice, warm, and welcoming. I knew that not only with the education and English programs and the benefits they offered, but also with just the atmosphere of the school, that I would do well here.

This university has offered me the most incredible education, one that is so specialized for me.

I have small class sizes that actually reference English education. For my Measurement and Assessment class, my teacher might say “here is the concept and here is how you can use it in your English classes.” Through the one-on-one, personalized instruction, the teachers, and the personal connections, I have learned so much. I have been motivated to do so much.

I am so blessed to be at William Woods because of the professors. I know all the professors and they know me and my goals. When they hear about opportunities, they let their students know about them. It is great having such a small community because I have been able to learn so much and work with the professors one-on-one.


An English Major at William Woods

The English professors here are fantastic. The other day I dropped by Dr. Dube’s office and we talked about some grad school opportunities I was excited about. Dr. Hillskemper recently helped me prepare for a lesson that I was going to teach at Fulton High School for one of my education classes. One of my favorite classes has been Young Adult Literature with Dr. Wells. I want to write young adult literature someday and having that class with her and getting to talk to her about the subject was awesome.

It is so nice to have such a tight community for the English department. I have learned so much and being able to connect with the professors and know that they are here for me is huge. It has really helped my education.

Learn more about the William Woods English program


An English Education Major at William Woods

The education side is awesome too because that is what I want to do with the content I learn in my English classes. The English department gets me excited because that is what I am going to be teaching, but the education part is fascinating because that is what I am passionate about.

I want to be a teacher, helping students grow and learn the English language. I want to get them excited about reading and writing. Being an education major, I have learned a lot about the methodology of how to teach. I learned a lot about some of the principles behind it and what you have to keep in mind.

In the education department, I have been provided with a lot of opportunities that have helped me to grow as a future teacher.

The professors know me and, whenever I am in a class, they can tailor it towards the English education side.

I was talking to a professor the other day and I asked if she liked being her career. She said she is able to impact an entirely new world of students through her position because she is helping us become the teachers that will impact those students. I think that is something powerful. The professors see that potential in us and want to help us have that impact.

Learn more about the William Woods English Education program


A Day in the Life

Between two majors and a lot of activities, I am very busy. I have classes throughout the day. One of my classes is blended. We are in the classroom part of the time, learning the methodology and how to teach reading and writing, and then I go to a local school to tutor and help students.

You will often find me in the Education Major’s Lounge on the third floor of the Academic Building. There are a lot of resources there and it’s a great spot to study, do homework, talk with professors, or just hang out between their classes. Plus, they have coffee and snacks!

If I have time in between classes, I sometimes run to the coffee shop in downtown Fulton and get some of my homework done.


Staying Involved in William Woods Activities

At William Woods, I am involved in almost everything! It’s more of what I am NOT involved in.

One of the most beneficial experiences has been being a Freshman Advantage (FA) mentor. FA is a three-week summer program that helps incoming freshmen get used to college by living on campus, taking classes, and meeting other students.  As a future teacher, I want to help the students get what they need with their education and develop their potential. With FA, I learned how to work with incoming students, how to help them adjust, and how to work with other people. These communication and leadership skills will really help me in the classroom. I loved every year I have experienced so far.

Being captain of the cheerleading squad has also taught me a lot of about responsibility, being a role model, how to be a leader essentially, and how to help an organization.

I loved every minute of my involvement with the Student Alumni Council (SAC) as well, where I was the sophomore and junior class president. One of the purposes of that organization is to help unite the campus and. that ability to work with lots of people is something I am going to need in the future.

I am involved with Writer’s Ink, a creative writing club where students give feedback on each other’s work. It is an incredible opportunity for someone like me, who is in love with creative writing. You can stretch yourself and talk about your work with the professor and community of peers.

I am also the president of the National Society of Leadership and Success, a member of the Campus Activities Board, an auction chair for President’s Twenty, and the secretary for Sigma Tau Delta, the national English honors society. From a Greek life perspective, I am in Alpha Chi Omega and have been the VP of membership programming, VP of recruitment, chair of the Parents Club, and Assistant VP of philanthropy.


A Busy Schedule

As a student, it can be hard to manage all of the classes and activities. It has taken me a long time to get it together. I started prioritizing what is important to me and what I am passionate and putting those first.

I know that if I want to get something done, I have to do it right away. If I am assigned something, I try to knock it out quickly. I focus on getting all of my work and studying done between 8 and 5. Then, at night, I can go out with my friends for last-minute Taco Bell runs and make memories.


Winning Awards

I recently received the Robert J. Greef Award, which is given to a senior English education major by the Missouri Council of Teachers of English. Dr. Hanrahan from the education department nominated me. It recognizes outstanding future English educators who are working particularly hard and contributing to their department.

As a part of the award, I was able to attend the annual “Write to Learn” conference for English teachers in Missouri. It was an incredible opportunity to listen to the speakers, participate in workshops, and meet some of the influential people in the organization.

When I enter a classroom as a teacher, I want to make sure that I know every student’s goals, so that I can help them. I think that is something my professor did for me on campus. He saw an opportunity to help me pursue my dream. I think that is one of the main focuses when teaching.


Empowered by Woods Around the World

I recently returned from a trip to Antarctica and Argentina with Woods Around the World, a travel-study program. It was probably the most incredible and inspiring trip I could have possibly done. I was sitting on the edge of the boat one day, looking at the scenery and I felt so empowered — if I can go to Antarctica, what else can I do? If I’m not doing something, I’m holding myself back. It felt very empowering to know that I could pursue my goals. If I set my mind to it, I can go for it. I think it is very empowering.

I hope I can empower my students to realize that traveling is such an amazing experience and to go and do whatever they want. They can do whatever they pursue their goals and passions.

My goal now is to do a back handspring on all seven continents!


Family Support

I think my family and how they have always believed in me has a lot to do with how well I have done in college. My mother, father, and brother drove me to become more involved and really to stretch my perspective while at college. Because they believed in me, I was able to believe in me. I think that had a huge part of my success.

My grandfather passed away before my senior year of high school. He had always followed his passion and that made him the happiest. Wanting to have that competence in life and follow my passion like he did is ultimately what led me to William Woods and my career path.


Writing the Next Chapter

After graduating from William Woods, I am either going straight into teaching or going for my master’s degree, hopefully in creative writing. But my ultimate goal, like my grandfather, is to be happy.

William Woods is an amazing place and full of opportunities. You have so many chances to follow your passion, try new things, and develop skills that will help you to achieve your life-long goals. My biggest advice for any student is to be aware of those opportunities, take advantage of them, and to go for it.