Profile: Students describe Voelz as “patient,” creator of “great conversations”

By: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Mrs. Krysha Voelz, English and Film Literature teacher, helps Chelsea Adair, 9, with her assignment in English 9. Photo Credit: Alex Smith/Staff Writer

Mrs. Krysha Voelz, English and Film Literature teacher, has recently been voted Teacher of the Year for GCHS by her peers. Voelz, who has been teaching English for 8 years at GC, talked about what makes teaching worth all the stress, all the grading, planning, and overall time involved. She said, “It is worth it whenever I see a student feel accomplished and proud of his/her efforts.” 

Voelz mentioned several positive aspects of being an English teacher. She said, “I enjoy multiple aspects of it. I really enjoy forming relationships with teens and watching them mature socially, intellectually, and emotionally throughout high school. I also LOVE analyzing literature with students who discover new meaning and have those ‘Aha moments’!” 

Katlyn Garner, 11, discussed what her favorite thing about Film Literature with Voelz is. She said, “She is a good teacher; she’s really friendly. She really likes to talk about films and it’s nice to talk to her about that sort of stuff.” 

McKenzie Bell, 9, talked about her favorite aspect of English with Voelz. She said, “My favorite thing about Mrs. Voelz is how caring she is about her students’ education and our feelings. She also makes eye contact [with us] when explaining things which shows she’s genuinely communicating.”

Voelz mentioned how she has handled teaching English, Film Literature, and F111, a college composition class, during a pandemic. She said, “It has been extremely challenging. I have had to let some things go and allow myself the same ‘grace’ I give to others. On the flip side, I have discovered new teaching strategies and have added [them] to my ‘wheelhouse.’ “

Bell talked about what Voelz does to help her learn. She said, “Something she does to help me learn is check in occasionally to make sure I’m on track.” Garner discussed what Voelz does to help her learn. She said, “She’s very patient, she’s great at explaining things and creates good conversations.”

Voelz talked about what teachers or mentors that she follows on social media and why. She said, “I chuckle at this question because I am not one for using social media much. However, I do follow one English teacher, Laura Randazzo, on YouTube and Teachers Pay Teachers. She is a high school English teacher about my age who creates fabulous lessons for her students. She also makes some entertaining videos. She is my idol!” She also mentioned who the most influential teacher in her life was and why. She said, “The teacher who impacted me the most was my high school English teacher, Mrs. Barbara Taylor. She was my teacher during my freshman year as well as my senior year. She was tough, funny, and inspired a love for the classics. I was first exposed to classics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey as well as works by Shakespeare in her room.”

Garner further commented on Voelz, “I’ve only had her for a short period of time but she’s just a really good teacher.” Bell told a memorable story about Voelz: “I was struggling with my grades and she noticed so she called me up and talked to me about it and offered to help me which no other teacher has done before.” Voelz discussed memorable moments in her teaching career. She said, “There are so many; however, I am always moved when I receive a card or an email from a student, years after I have had him/her in class, to thank me for making a difference in his/her life.”

Bell talked about what Voelz does to make English class fun. She said, “Something she does to make class fun is letting us work with friends.” As for Film Lit, Garner said, “Like I said, she’s very passionate about films and talking about films and there are good conversations.”

Voelz discussed how she balances her work and home life. She said, “This is tough, as I haven’t fully achieved this balance. It is a juggling act, for sure. Like most teachers, I take a lot home with me. This includes grading, planning, and responding to emails. I go through phases where I am more ‘balanced’ than others. Currently, my husband and I are making an effort to exercise together and get to sleep before 11:00. It always helps to achieve balance when you have someone who provides encouragement and accountability.” She also mentioned what she does outside of teaching English. She said, “I try to exercise regularly and enjoy working out in the gym and outside. I walk, jog, do yoga, and swim. In addition, I spend a lot of time with my family. I have one daughter who lives at home and three other adult children who live in Indiana, whom I see often.”

Garner mentioned what Voelz has taught her about in Film Literature this Semester. She said, “Right now we’re watching a film that’s about history, which is really cool. We’ve watched a lot of different types of films and different styles of films.” Bell talked about what Voelz has taught her about in English 9 this Semester. She said, “She’s taught us about the story Romeo and Juliet and Greek mythology, my personal favorites.” Voelz discussed her favorite lesson or activity to do with the kids. She said, “I really enjoy Socratic seminars. It is extremely uplifting to observe students lead and discuss issues they have independently noted in texts they read for class.”

Bell talked about what her least favorite thing about English with Voelz is. She said, “My least favorite thing is doing work on our own.” As for Film Lit, Garner said, “Most of the reading can be a little bit continuous and the notes can be a bit boring sometimes but there’s good conversations.” For her part, Voelz discussed her least favorite thing about being an English teacher. She said, “My least favorite part is the paperwork (email, etc.) I know it is important to communicate with others, but sometimes it seems to take over my life. Balancing email communication with grading, planning, and teaching is challenging.”

Voelz talked about what she wants students to learn in English class. She said, “My number one goal is for students to realize they are capable of achieving whatever they work to do.” She also mentioned how she keeps the kids engaged. She said, “I typically find that their engagement is related to my enthusiasm. If I enjoy what I am reading or discussing, I usually find that my engagement is contagious. I also think engagement rises as the students have more ownership in the lesson.”

Garner talked about what she is going to remember the most about Voelz. She said, “Probably just the classroom morale and how many movies we watched.” Bell commented on what she is going to remember the most about Voelz. She said, “Something I will remember most is how much she cared [about us] and she is really good at teaching.” Voelz concluded by commenting on what she wants kids to remember about her. She said, “I hope that they remember that I care and that most people in life are willing to help you when you show effort.”