Illana Spicer teachers English III, AP Composition, and Creative Literacy to juniors at Woodward High School. Spicer began her teaching career in early 2013 at a junior high in Catoosa where she stayed until 2018. Spicer knew she wanted to teach since her days in sixth grade when she was inspired by the energy and passion from her own junior high band director.
“I desire to help others create their own success,” Spicer said. “I cannot imagine performing any other profession. Working with young people is inspiring in itself. I have a Master’s degree in leadership, so I hope to transition one day to administration to support other teachers and help them become more successful.”
Spicer is happy to be back home in Woodward, the town where she grew up, and said that it is a rewarding experience to be making an impact on her local community. She believes that communities like Woodward and Catoosa survive because the communities thrive on their young people and the life they create because of the schools.
“My students are the best! I get to work with some of the most creative, caring, and capable young people in our state,” Spicer said. “It is such a blessing to see them succeed.”
This year Spicer is teaching Creative Literacy for the first time and has been hosting a “classroom read around” every Friday as well as having students create reflective pieces about themselves and others.
“Their compositions are wonderful! Sharing your writing can be nerve wracking, but they are so willing to allow themselves to be vulnerable, and share their beautiful words with the class, that I am always left in awe,” Spicer said. “The support and encouragement they show to each other is amazing.”
In the classroom Spicer’s priority is teaching and showing respect. She knows that most students aren’t always eager to be in class, but Spicer does her best to make learning fun and wants to apply lessons that will be applicable in real world situations.
“I begin by simply giving them the respect and dignity that they crave. I continuously model good character and demand it in return,” Spicer said. “Most students admit to me they don’t necessarily enjoy English, but they appreciate me and the environment I create in my classroom. By the end of our time together, they have developed their academic skills and improved their learning and it shows in their writing and on the ACT. They leave educated and dignified.”