Susan Carville

Photo+courtesy+of+Alice+Adams.

Photo courtesy of Alice Adams.

Heather Fabritze

After 15 years at Emmaus High School, English teacher Susan Carville has made plans to retire at the end of this school year.

Carville has taught a variety of English courses over the duration of her tenure at EHS, including English 10 CP, 10 Honors, 10 GP, and 11 CP. For a period of time, she also held the position of coach of the Debate Team and the advisor of the Animal Rights Club.

Compared to her fellow staff members, Carville feels that she came into teaching “kind of late.” She jumped from job to job following her graduation from college, working in retail, public relations, and, for a memorable period of time, as a radio DJ. Other important moments in her life sprung up, including meeting her husband and having kids, so it wasn’t until her late 40s that she received her teaching certificate.

For Carville, the prospect of teaching was a goal that she continued to hold in her mind, even as the years passed.
“I always wanted to go back [to college] and it just didn’t seem like the right time,” Carville says. “You know, there’s always kids and different things like that. [Then] I just had the time and the energy and that’s what made me do it. Finally got the chance to.”

It is easy to see this lasting love of teaching in Carville. Some of her favorite curriculum pieces to teach include “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Julius Caesar,” and almost any kind of grammar — however, it’s difficult for her to pinpoint just a few lessons she loves, when she enjoys everything that she teaches. More than anything, though, it is her students that make her job so important to her.

This can especially be seen in her fond memories of the Debate Team and their Wegman’s lunch runs after competitions.

“The [debate] students were really smart,” Carville says. “It kept me on my toes because I had to really understand what the whole debate question was, and I had to be able to understand how to teach debate, which I had never done before, so I had to educate myself on that. And, you know, these were the kinds of students who weren’t going to let me just slide by with just a general explanation. They really wanted all the facts and they wanted to know how to get an edge.”

Not just the students, but her fellow staff members, as well, are one of the parts of EHS that Carville knows she will miss the most.

For example, her friendships with those in the English Department has led to a Halloween tradition that she knows she will remember for a long time.
“The last few years, our department chose a theme and we would dress up according to the theme,” Carville says. “So, it was fun coming up with a theme and then seeing how everybody interpreted it … There’s a lot of fun things that the school plans and the faculty, we get together and plan too. I’ll miss those things.”

The experiences and people that she knows she will be leaving behind have, overall, left Carville’s feelings regarding her retirement as slightly bittersweet.

“I’m very conflicted,” Carville says. “I’m gonna miss so many people. I made such good friends here and I’m going to miss the students. They always give me a lift and I just find [the] students here so interesting, and everybody has great personalities, strong personalities. Some of them [are] … real scholars, and that’s a joy to find that.”

She thinks that her internal conflict, though, will be tempered by her plans to continue subbing at EHS in the future. During her retirement, she also plans to babysit her grandchildren and take a few small trips with her husband to Memphis or Las Vegas.

Carville hopes that her presence and legacy at Emmaus has left her students with the sense that they have been heard by her.