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Where every person has a story.

HHS Media

Where every person has a story.

HHS Media

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Vasiliauskas, new English teacher shares teaching path

Audra Vasiliauskas is a new teacher at HHS. She is teaching ninth grade and debate class. She has a dog who is an 11 years old Standard Poodle and his name is Jagger. 

“He is my whole life. I am obsessed with him,” Vasiliauskas said. 

She considers him to be her child and loves hanging out with him. She hopes to be a debate coach next year. 

“I am a firm believer in the power of communication and the power of words, and that if we have words to express ourselves, we’re able to get our needs met, and I think really at the core for me, that’s what English is about. It’s about teaching students how to advocate for themselves and get their needs met in a world that doesn’t really always give space for people who struggle to get their needs met” says Vasiliauskas. 

Vasiliauskas’s high school teaching career started in 2014, she went on to teach college students for about four years. Teaching has been her thing for the last 13 years, ninth year for high school. 

Vasiliauskas decided to come to Harrisonburg due to the diversity in the community. Before Harrisonburg, she taught in a school outside Richmond which did not have much diversity. Furthermore, she was at Staunton High School which was a much more diverse High school but she just missed being in an environment where she was learning how to be a better person in lots of ways instead of just some ways.

”I am really excited. And I lived in Waynesboro a couple years ago, and I missed the valley. So, Harrisonburg was a big draw,” said Vasiliauskas.

Some of the schools she taught were New Kent High school, and was there for a year. She also taught at Gloucester High school, Stanton, and Franklin County High School. Moreover, she loves being in a school that is diverse and loves being in an English Department that is big. 

“We have a big English Department, so I am learning a lot from my colleagues, and I’m really grateful for that. Also I have new classes to teach and new groups of students to teach. I am just learning more from students as I am growing as a teacher,” Vasiliauskas said. 

Her strengths that help her teaching career is that she is really reflective and thoughtful. 

“I am very much of an introvert, I am very quiet and so I do a lot of thinking and sometimes it travels over into the overthinking land. But I do think that my willingness to stop and look at what we have taught in a class one day and say this isnt working. Which has been really helpful to my teaching career. I think it’s been more helpful than it has been hurtful because sometimes you overthink things and take too much time,” Vasiliauskas said. 

Growing up she didn’t have a plan of what she wanted to do when she graduated from high school.Despite not having a plan, she had a passion for English which led her to go to college and study it.  After she declared her English major, she had to make a choice of what to do next.  Vasiliauskas went to Virginia Tech, and ultimately decided that she wanted to be a college professor.

“Even though everybody in my entire life had said to me that I should be a high school teacher, I never thought I could do it. Because I was too quiet and too introverted,” Vasiliauskas said.

She thought that being a professor in college was better suited to her personality because at the collegiate level, she can become a professor, but there are some professors who teach and some who primarily do research and she wanted to go down the research track. While working on her masters in English she got assigned a teaching assistantship where they paid her tuition and she had to teach two classes at Virginia Tech, per semester. 

“I fell in love with teaching and the rest is history,” Vasiliauskas said.

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