Joanne Beckjord graduated Seton Hill in 1971, and has been an English teacher in the Peters Township School District in Washington County since 1993. She has taught both middle school and high school. Besides teaching literature, she has also taught a Keystone Exam remediation class to help students prepare for the exams.
“My use of English surrounds me each day: I teach honors British lit with a heavy dose of learning how to present information in a logical manner. I stress close reading as the most important reading comprehension skill and require sophisticated and correct grammar. I also expect my students to speak clearly and succinctly,” said Beckjord.
Beckjord did not start her college career as an English major. She was a home economics major until she switched to English at the end of her freshman year at Seton Hill.“Every teacher was excellent, and I was a willing student! I had teachers who not only taught us the literature but also made it easy to fall in love with the language and the beauty of the way words can go together,” said Beckjord.
Beckjord shares her enthusiasm for literature with her students. She sees literature teachers who focus on the technical aspects of literature in their teachings, focusing on analysis and evaluation of the writings. “Their students never seem to come away with an overwhelming love of the piece. For me, that’s where I start,” said Beckjord. “I learned how to be insightful from Sr. Collette; how to appreciate lighthearted Cavalier love poems from Sr. Miriam Jane, how to be stern and unforgiving in pushing myself from Sr. Miriam Joseph, and how to interpret, analyze, and evaluate literature from Dr. Boyle. From all of my teachers, especially Dr. Boyle, I learned how to be genteel, generous in understanding, and quietly confident in the knowledge that I had. It was the best of all English educations,” said Beckjord.