Teacher Spotlight: New HSAS English Teacher Ms. Arlette Crosland

Lila Sharp, Grade 10, Staff Writer

Meet Ms. Crosland, a new English teacher at the High School of American Studies. Ms. Crosland joined the HSAS faculty at the beginning of the school year and currently teaches AP English Language and Composition as well as a writing elective.

Q: Was teaching your childhood dream job? If not, what was?

A: Hardly, I never considered teaching as a child, I had many different interests and wanted to work in a creative field.


Q: What made you want to teach in the first place? Why did you pick English?

A: I began my teaching career through cataclysm and circumstance. It was when the publishing and technology sectors were experiencing a great amount of upheaval and instability. I read an article in the Los Angeles Times, that there was a need for English, Math, and Special Education teachers because of legislation that had made changes to class sizes. I had an English Degree so I thought, why not? I’ll do this for a while, and when things get back to normal, I can go back to publishing - that was 19 years ago.


Q: Do you have any specific teaching philosophy — something you stick to, no matter what?

A: I use the Socratic method; all questions are usually answered with another question.


Q: Where did you teach before HSAS?

A: I taught for seven years in Los Angeles at a large, traditional, and storied high school. Since moving to New York, I have worked at a school for students whose educations were interrupted, and most recently at a school that is part of the New York City Performance Consortium.

Q: Do you have a favorite job you’ve held in the past?

A: My very first job at Macworld Magazine in San Francisco was my favorite. I loved working in publishing, and the technology sector was a very exciting place to be. I began as a production coordinator in the art department and worked my way up to a graphic designer and eventually became an art director. It was exciting, the people were brilliant, the perks were great, and I learned so much. It was fun to be at the center of the tech revolution and, in retrospect, pretty cool to witness an industry radically change our world. It was a once in a lifetime experience. But, teaching is my true calling. I have met many truly amazing students and teachers at all of the schools I have worked at and remain in contact with many of them. The rewards are intangible and take a bit longer to experience, but no editor ever thanked me for making a difference in his life, so there is that.


Q: How did you hear of HSAS? What made you want to teach here?

A: I heard about HSAS from a former colleague who had been a student at HSAS. I had spent five years at my last school. After the students I taught for four years graduated last year, I wanted a new teaching experience. A specialized high school fit that bill, and luckily for me, a position was open at HSAS.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about HSAS so far?

A: Being that I have not been able to fully experience HSAS, I would have to say, my students. Despite the challenges of remote learning, I have come to know them and find them to be an interesting, talented, funny, and seriously motivated bunch of kids. I just wish I could experience them in a more traditional and personal way.

Q: Do you have any fun/interesting facts about yourself?

A: I have lived in three countries and on two coasts in the US, but I am and always will be a California girl at heart. And, I once piloted a blimp.

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