Get to know Hamlin’s Middle School Teaching Fellow, Mx. Westley!
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Mx. Westley (Syd Westley), and I graduated from Hamlin in 2013. For high school, I attended The Branson School in Ross, where I was captain of the soccer team and student body co-president. After graduating from Branson in 2017, I went to Stanford University. I just completed my third year at Stanford where I am majoring in Comparative Literature and minoring in Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. I am currently taking the year off of school in order to teach at Hamlin, and next year I will return to Stanford to graduate! After that, I plan on pursuing an MFA in creative writing in order to become a poetry professor at the college level.
What made you decide to return to Hamlin, this time in a teaching role?
Because of COVID-19, I was not very excited about beginning my senior year of college in distance learning, so I decided to look for teaching opportunities for the year and was lucky enough to stumble upon this alumni fellowship! Because I want to pursue teaching after college, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some more experience and professional development skills in the field, and I also just thought it would be very fun to return to my alma mater (which it has been). I am teaching alongside many of my old teachers and, although it has been a bizarre adjustment to start calling them by their first names, it has been really fun and interesting and fulfilling.
Tell us a little about your role as Middle School Teaching Fellow:
In my new role, I mostly support fifth grade students in math, language arts, and Spanish. I am also one of the faculty co-sponsors for the Middle School GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) which has been my favorite part of the job. As a queer and non-binary person who had none of these resources when I was in middle school, I am so excited to share my experience/resources with students and to begin normalizing they/them pronouns as well as the gender neutral title, Mx. (pronounced Mix). Distance learning has proven challenging for everyone (I now have experienced it both as a student and as a teacher), so I’m very happy to provide the extra support. The students are so lovely, and I’ve never held a job I loved this much before.
Hamlin’s Opening Assembly looked a little different this year. Even though over 600 students, teachers, and parents logged in to a virtual version, you could still feel the excitement of the start of a new year and a deep love of Hamlin coming through the screen. Student body president, Audrey Spaly, introduced this year’s theme: “I Am Changing.” Ms. Holland-Greene beautifully sang the lines from a song in Broadway’s Dreamgirls that inspires our theme:
“Look at me, I am changing. I am trying every way I can. I am changing–I’ll be better than I am.”
At a moment in history that requires all of us to be willing to change, to adapt, and truly to meet the challenges of our times, the girls of Hamlin are ready to begin.