Photo Courtesy of Samantha McEvoy
Kind, determined and passionate are three words that perfectly describe Samantha McEvoy, a WCHS Honors English 10 and AP Literature teacher. She has been teaching for four years, which have all been at WCHS.
McEvoy is a University of Maryland five-year program graduate, where she received a Bachelors in English and Literature and a Masters in Secondary English Education. The diversity of MCPS was one of the main things that attracted her to the county.
“I love the drive that many Churchill students have,” McEvoy said. “It’s incredible to witness such a large number of students who have a desire to succeed; no matter what field it is in.”
She first considered a teaching career because she knew she did not want to have a cubicle job. She enjoys having the freedom to move around and interact with people on a regular basis. Her younger brother also sparked her interest in teaching. When she was weighing different career avenues, she recalled teaching her brother concepts and foundations for school, which made her realize her passion for helping others learn.
“He’s got autism and growing up with a sibling who has special needs was a challenge for me; I think it would be for most people,” McEvoy said. “He challenged me daily to have a heightened level of patience and understanding that we all have different needs and that that is okay.”
Usually students know McEvoy from teaching Honors English 10, however, she recently started teaching AP Literature. She enjoys both classes for different reasons.
“With English 10 I love how the course takes us on this journey: first the exploration of the self, then the external world and finally other worlds,” McEvoy said. “I love AP Literature because what we do in that class is the reason I fell in love with literature. All English classes talk about how literature connects people and worlds together, but Lit elevates that to another level.”
McEvoy loves helping people and finds that seeing students have their “lightbulb moment” is the most rewarding thing about teaching. She describes herself as a “warm demander” in the classroom because although she has high expectations, she wants students to prioritize their mental health first.
“She’s definitely very passionate about the class and always rubs off on us in class. That’s especially hard to convey over virtual learning but she does a great job,” senior Ben Ballman, an AP Literature student, said.
McEvoy especially enjoys performance-based projects that allow students to use their creativity.
These past few years she has done a spoken word performance paired with Persepolis, which she adores.
“For a lit project we had to record ourselves doing a reading of a poem, and she had asked us to be very authentic with it,” Ballman said. “She’s not extremely rigid, which I think is very important in a class like English.”
Outside of teaching English, McEvoy sponsors several clubs at WCHS: Free the Slaves Club and Global Awareness Club. In the past couple of years, she has also been very invested in taking control of her mental health and her spirituality.
“I am deeply invested in a daily meditation and breath work practice and I love psychology, so I have been learning about psychological concepts such as shadow work and other ways to access the subconscious mind,” McEvoy said. “I also knit and play the guitar and drums for fun.”
Though online learning has been tough, she believes that one of the most important components of assisting herself and others is prioritizing mental health. Ultimately, she hopes her students leave her class happy and inspired with what she is teaching.
“I hope that students find some aspect of literature that they enjoy, and more importantly, I hope that they leave with a smile on their face,” McEvoy said.