Demon of DHS

Brianna Brown , Specials Head Editor

This issue, for Demons of DHS, is featuring Adrianne Genette. Dr. Genette has a PhD in English and brings to her classes challenge and rigor.  She teaches English 121, English 4 and English 3 at Durango High School. She is new to Durango High School this year and students enjoy her teaching style and the positive energy she brings to class each day. Dr. Genette is intense, but is very helping and understanding of students and the different levels they are at in writing.

Is this your first year teaching? If not, how many years have you taught prior to teaching at DHS.

This is my first year teaching high school. I have been teaching since 2006 when I started my PhD. Since then, I have taught college courses at Brown University, CU Boulder, and Front Range Community College. I did teach a concurrent enrollment class at a high school in Longmont, Colorado, which got me thinking about teaching high school.

What brought you to Durango?

I was very interested in this community because it seemed to have all the amenities of the Front Range but with a more relaxed atmosphere. When I visited for the job interview, the staff made me feel very welcome. I was inspired by how much they cared about the students and their school.

Where did you go to college?

I did my BA at the University of Colorado Boulder. I have an MA from the University of Sussex in England and a PhD from Brown.

Tell me about your treacherous journey to getting your PhD..

There were parts of the PhD that I loved, such as the coursework and teaching. It was such a privilege to be able to discuss literature with other people who loved it as much as I did. The hardest part was writing the dissertation, because it required long hours of solitary research and writing. I was lucky to have a very supportive advisor. Even though it took much longer than I thought it would and was harder than I imagined, I have no regrets!

How did you decide you wanted to be a teacher?

I remember the day I decided to go to grad school to become a teacher. I had been working for a few years after college, and I realized that I wanted to share my passion for literature with other people.

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

I love the “a-ha” moments when students have breakthroughs in their reading and writing. I also like helping students who face challenges outside of school. I did not have the easiest time growing up, so I try my best to be empathetic with others.

Why did you decide to teach English above all other courses?

I have always loved reading and writing; I used to stay up past my bedtime reading with a flashlight under the covers. I have always known that my future would involve literature, and it is such a joy to be teaching it now.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of teaching? Tell me about that…

I am a total gym rat. I’ve done every type of weightlifting from powerlifting to Olympic-style. I’m not very good at any one type, but I love learning new techniques. It is very empowering as a woman to walk into a weight room and be able to hold your own. It took me a long time to discover this, because I was terrible at sports growing up. I was literally always the last picked for teams in gym and could not even catch a ball to save my life. I ended up in a weight room by accident one year when I was injured from running, and have never turned back.

Tell me an interesting/memorable story or experience that we could use to get to know you better, something that describes your personality.

I have always admired my dad, and when I was 16 I especially admired one of his plaid button-up shirts. This was in the grunge days when kids wore those kinds of shirts tied around their waists. My dad refused to give me that shirt because he knew I would ruin it by sitting on it. One day, he came into my room with the shirt and said I could have it on one condition; I could only wear it if I was making good decisions. He said I had to figure out for myself what that meant. I wanted to make him proud and be able to wear the shirt, but I never ended up wearing it. Every time I made a decision I asked myself — “Is this good enough?” I decided that I could always strive to be better. Many years later, when I was managing a restaurant after college, my assistant manager was going through a tough time. I decided to pass on the shirt to her so that she could empower herself to make good decisions. When I told this to my dad, he clarified that he always wanted me to make decisions for the right reasons. While we don’t always know the outcome of our choices, we can control our intentions. Since then I have tried to honor him by making decisions for the right reasons.