Brittany Jones

Class of 2024: Brittany Jones

A love of learning – particularly reading and writing – led Brittany to a career teaching high school English Language Arts. She is graduating with her M.T. in English Education.

Laura Hoxworth

It was Brittany Jones’s own high school English teacher who helped her see that her passion for reading and writing could inspire others through teaching. She graduates in May with her Master of Teaching in English Education and will begin a career teaching high school English in the fall.  

Q: What inspired you to choose a career in education?

It’s not a particularly unique origin story, but a teacher inspired me to teach. I’d had, admittedly, other plans for my future; then, my high school English teacher changed my mind. Recognizing my passion for reading and writing—the joy I found in language and analysis and words and sound—he began softly suggesting that I could be a great teacher, and he eventually convinced me to student-teach with him during my senior year of high school. I had always loved learning. Working alongside him, I came to understand how teaching could be another form of learning: a profession in which I could co-create solutions, ideas, and epiphanies in partnership with my students. As I continued to pursue opportunities related to education and teaching during and beyond my undergraduate education, I also came to feel passionately about the potential for English Language Arts classrooms to explore the role that reading and writing play in matters related to social justice and societal change.

Q: Why did you choose the UVA School of Education & Human Development?

Before applying to UVA, I’d been living in the DC area for about seven years and had known I wanted to find a university not too far away that would provide a powerful academic base from which I could launch my teaching career. I was drawn to what I understood was a rigorous M.T. program that would give me not just the teaching certificate, but the skills and experience I needed to truly be successful in the classroom. It certainly didn’t hurt that moving to Charlottesville meant I’d be closer to the Shenandoah mountains!

Q: What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time here?

My relationships with my students, mentor teacher, and other colleagues at my student-teaching placement have been critical forces shaping my time at UVA. Particularly after I began student teaching full-time in the spring—but even in the fall during my part-time placement—these relationships were powerful motivators amidst the craziness of being simultaneously a teacher and a graduate student.  

I’ve felt lucky to have the chance to work closely with a mentor teacher who provides me the freedom and support to put into practice the strategies I’ve learned about in my UVA classrooms. The ability to then receive immediate feedback from my mentor and students has been critical in supporting my growth as a teacher.  

Q: What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you?

One thing I’ve learned that has surprised me—or maybe excited is a better word—has been the importance of bringing in supplemental texts (or text sets) to support student comprehension and motivation. When designing a text set, teachers look for texts that will build background knowledge and interest in a particular topic before reading and while reading a more challenging, above-grade-level text. I’ve loved exploring how a range of texts can engage students from various perspectives, facilitating deeper and more meaningful connections between fiction and their own lives and world.  

Q: If you can, name one person who has made a special impact during your studies and how?

Professor Natasha Heny, my English Seminar/Methods professor and internship advisor, has been a bedrock of my time here at UVA. She embodies many of the characteristics that I hope to bring into my own classroom: an authentic, unbridled joy in her work of teaching and learning; an evident desire to see her students succeed—and a belief that they will be successful; a commitment to questioning traditional power structures, particularly as they interact with and are reflected in language; intentional vulnerability to support a more intimate and psychologically safe classroom environment; and I could go on. Whether I am looking for a thought partner to reflect on potential solutions to a challenge at my placement, or just eager to celebrate a success, I know that Prof. Heny will offer a thoughtful listening ear. She has consequently provided a powerful role model for me as I mold my own teacher identity.  

Q: What will you be doing next?

I will be moving to Fairfax County to teach English at a public high school! Before moving to Charlottesville, I’d been living in the DC area, including Northern Virginia, and I’m excited to return to this area that has come to feel like home. 

Class of 2024 Graduation Profiles

We invite you to get to know a few members of the UVA EHD Class of 2024 as we celebrate the accomplishments of the entire class.

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Laura Hoxworth

Research Center or Department

  • Curriculum, Instruction & Special Education