The Bookworm

English teacher Kay Kassen did not sleep the night before her first day of teaching. Twenty-five years later, the classroom has become her natural environment.

“English is fundamental,” Kassen said. “It’s basic literacy, focusing on the important material and pulling in good ideas and supporting them. Close Reading is so important. If you are a Close Reader, you can’t take something on the surface and be swayed by untruths.”

Close Reading requires that students read slowly, carefully and analytically to comprehend written material.

Kassen has taught English 12 and English 12 AP for 25 years and has been the Language Arts department chair for 14 years.

“It is very fulfilling to feel that you are contributing to the next generation,” Kassen said. “A young person going out in the world cannot be too educated.”

Kassen read the same books by Shakespeare in her high school English class that her students read today. Even though Kassen won’t be assigning Julius Caesar or Macbeth anymore, Shakespeare remains one of her favorite authors.

“Shakespeare is awe-inspiring to me,” Kassen said. “I don’t understand how he could’ve been so insightful. What he did with his writing was brilliant.”

Kassen will miss her students but the excitement of sleeping past the 5 a.m. alarm is settling in.

“When I think back, it’s the people I’ve worked with, as well as the students, that are the most memorable,” Kassen said.

After her retirement, she plans to spend her free time with her sister who lives in Florida and her grandchildren. She also hopes to travel with her husband to Europe, the British Isles, New England and the Caribbean.A Page-Turner

Kassen has taught these books in her English 12 and English 12 AP classes throughout her years at Northwest.

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare 
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley