Photo By: Phanthavong
Alison Phanthavong, English
What is your background?
My family is originally from Laos, in Southeast Asia. My parents immigrated in the 1980’s and were refugees during the Vietnam war. I grew up in Northern Virginia, which is where my 14-year-old brother and family currently live. My younger brother is still in High School, and I am now in my first year out of college. I went to the University of Virginia where I studied English and Education. And now, I am here!
What got you into teaching?
English is a lifelong passion for me that all started when I was an early reader as a kid. I loved the stories that I read, and I wanted to share that joy with others. My passion for English has continued since I was a kid, to where I am now at Western. What drew me to teaching was not only the instructional side of it but the public service side of it. I really want to spend my life doing something that would make others’ lives better. Now, I am fortunate enough to be here at Western. I get to spend my life doing what I love, and sharing my passion for English with all of the students.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that learning is participating. Learning is an act that is fun, relevant, and meaningful to my students. I try to shape my instruction so that students can learn in a way that will benefit them, not only for this year but will take them far in their life and future education. I not only teach English, but I also teach Freshman Seminar this year. They asked if I would be willing to do that and I said ‘Of course’! That’s really why I got into this job. I want to support my students and help them make sure they have everything they need to be successful.
Has there been a teacher that has left an impact on you?
My very favorite teacher of all times was Dr. Fox-Good. She was my senior year English teacher. She was so smart, passionate, and kind. It was truly inspiring for me, not only as a student but as a person. She changed my life. It’s a dream of mine that someday I will be able to leave an impact and change someone’s life, like she changed mine.