Despite the many talented teachers here at North Atlanta, resident AP Language and Composition teacher Deanna Hasty is one who’s big personality and innovative teaching style goes unmatched. With an impressive teaching record under her belt, there seems to be just about nothing that Hasty can’t do.
Hasty’s lengthy teaching career has its roots at the University of Central Florida, where she taught ELA 1101. She decided that high school was a better fit however, and took off from there, teaching at five high schools in six different counties– making her way from Florida to Georgia — and finally arriving at North Atlanta where she has been for the past seven years.
With teaching comes the responsibility of preparing students for the real world, and Hasty sees AP Language and Composition as the chance to do just that. What could be a tedious English class, becomes an interdisciplinary course that enables discussion and higher level thinking. “It’s one of the few classes in high school that will actually influence students in the future — it teaches them how to argue, how to understand other’s viewpoints, and have meaningful conversations about how we can improve the world,” she said.
Teaching noisy immature high school students requires lots of patience and a high tolerance for excuses. However, Hasty manages to see the rewarding aspects of her position. She enjoys getting to see students development in her class and witnessing those “light bulb” moments where mastery is achieved. As the years go by, her former students become competent adults, and she is able to revel in the idea that her teaching had an impact. “Sometimes you don’t realize the impact you have on a child until many years later — they reach out, find you, and tell you,” she said. “It’s amazing to see your former students grow and be successful.”
Hasty is respected for her passionate approach to teaching and dedication to strengthening the AP Language program as a whole. Much to Hasty’s dismay, these efforts can be hindered by the methods standardized testing teaches for students, to achieve a higher score. Often times, the people teaching these methods have never stepped foot in a classroom. But alas, Hasty even has a solution for that. “I think everyone who’s in educational leadership should be required to spend at least two years in a classroom,”she said.
North Atlanta High School is full of impressive staff, and Hasty is no exception. She is clearly a fan favorite among students, and her presence is one felt in and out of the classroom. In Hasty’s own words, “Teachers change the world.”