Portraits of an English Double Major: Maggie Testani
Major: English + Secondary Education
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Why did you choose to double major?
I want to be a teacher for middle-school or high-schoolers, so I chose Clemson based on the Secondary-Education double major program. When I had to choose an emphasis, I chose English as my second major.
What interested you in an English major? And your second major?
I mainly choose English because I love writing but coming into school I was not very keen on reading. With liberal arts, teaching curriculums are more flexible and creative. English was always my favorite class growing up because it was the class that gave me the opportunity to express and articulate myself. I hope to model that through teaching someday.
I originally picked English because I had to pick a subject to teach. However, as I further explored the major, I have grown to love and respect English more than I thought I would have as a freshman.
For Secondary Education, my mother and aunts are all teachers, so I have always had an interest in teaching. I have been a camp counselor every summer for the past seven years, and I am very familiar with working with kids. It is my passion.
What classes have you taken so far that you believe intertwined these two majors well together?
I would say my sophomore, and junior English classes helped me think about educational aspects. For example, in my senior seminar, we had to compare two author’s books, books I would have never chosen to read myself (one was a French author, and one was a German author), and my teacher just did a great job. We dove into it, relating to issues that are going on in our world today through the lens of these two authors. I loved that. The critical writing class I took sophomore year showed me how to be a better writer. The professor showed me unusual new ways to write essays. Learning how to be a better writer and thinker will help me in my education classes when it comes to lesson and unit planning.
In what ways do these majors complement each other?
Having two majors made me work harder but in a good way! I watch my English teachers teaching and observe how they structure their classes and what I would and wouldn’t like to bring into my classroom. It has been helpful taking their points and trying to figure out a way to make it relevant to high schoolers and middle schoolers.
What opportunities does this double major give you?
I was recently accepted into Teach for America and placed in Chicago! Teach for America is a national program that focuses on education inequality and works to make a change in the system by recruiting teachers to come into low-income community schools. I felt very comfortable going into the interview. I believe having two majors and having an education background opened the door for this opportunity. It was beneficial during my interview talking about having that double major and what I have learned. I am very much looking forward to working for Teach for America, and I appreciate my time at Clemson with the English and Education departments. They have helped me figure out what I want to do and how I can make changes in the world, and I believe that will help me become a better and more aware educator.
Maggie’s Tip: Whatever field that you are training in for the workforce, there’s room to incorporate your passion if you are willing to work for it!
Written By: Brooke Tannehill