Meet the Teacher: Ashley Flatley


Pictured above is new English teacher, Ms. Flatley. She is the second teacher featured in WSPN’s series Meet the Teacher. “I’m excited to teach a lot of different things. I think that’s what makes me the most excited – the different books I have on the horizon,” Flatley said.

Janani Gandhi

Ashley Flatley, English

Can you tell me about your background and how you came to start teaching here?

Working backward, I just finished my Master in Teaching at Boston University and before that, I was working in Boston at a company called Zipcar. I worked there for three years. Before that, I was doing my undergraduate at Smith College. I grew up in Milford, Massachusetts. So I’ve been traveling around the Massachusetts area for my whole life. Surprised to still be here.

What were you doing at Zipcar?

A little bit of everything. I did some work with marketing and social media, I worked with the finance team a little bit… I just did everything. It’s so far back. I did some member services stuff… yeah, so essentially I was part of the department where all the problems came in. We would kind of troubleshoot there and work with the departments to figure out the solution, so I got to work with a bunch of different people while I was there, which was pretty cool.

Was that while you were getting your master’s degree, or before?

Before. I did that for a few years, then decided I wanted to go back to school for the rest of my life.

What made you decide to switch?

Gosh, I just missed it. I missed school a lot, and I just realized that [I missed school]… I would be sitting at my desk, just listening to Youtube videos about literature and just reading all the time and missing it pretty badly. So, I knew I had to get back and I knew teaching was the way to do that. So I started my master’s and found out I really loved it, which was lucky.

So, before you decided to be a teacher, did you have some idea of some other career path that you think you would have gone down on in undergrad?

I was always really drawn to English and literature, so I think I always knew in the back of my mind I would end up teaching, but when you’re majoring in English, everyone tells you, “Oh, so you’ll teach then, right? You’re going to be a high school teacher?” Part of me wanted to rebel against that a little bit, like “no, I’m not going to [be a teacher], because you’re telling me I’m going to do that,” but I always knew in the back of my mind that I was probably going to do just that. I didn’t go right into it because I wanted to kind of explore different options. When I got to work with a bunch of different departments [at Zipcar] and see what a bunch of different jobs would look like, it just made me realize, “Nope, I’ve seen a little bit of what’s out there and I did a little of my own exploration, but it’s time for me to go back to what I really want to do.”

How did you find this job and what made you choose Wayland?

Well, it’s a phenomenal school full of really great people. Everything I’ve witnessed so far has just reaffirmed that. I’m sort of familiar with the area because I’ve done a lot of commuting and moving between Milford and Boston, and this is smack dab in the middle of it, so the area is familiar to me. But I’m just getting to know the school community and everything about it is exciting to me. It seems like a really great place to work. I’m really excited to be working here.

What classes are you teaching this year?

I have a ninth grade College Prep English 1 [class], two tenth grade Honors English 2 [classes], and an Honors American Literature [class].

Are you taking over for Ms. Pitcairn this year?

I am. I’m here for her year away.

Since this is your first year of teaching, is there anything that you’re nervous about?

Everything. A lot of little things right now – getting to know Wayland, getting to know everyone, getting to know what happens if the projector stops working, or where to go if there’s an assembly. Just little things like that – who to call, who do I need to know, getting to know everyone in the building. So that’s a little bit nerve-wracking.

What’s your favorite book that you’re going to teach, and your favorite book in general?

I loved Catcher in the Rye when I was in high school. It was the first book that I taught when I was student teaching, which felt really fitting. So I’m always excited to teach that. My favorite book… I think The Handmaid’s Tale is a good one. My personal favorite.

Where did you student teach?

Needham. [I taught] two tenth grade classes.

What are you most excited for this year?

It’s hard to pick out just one thing. I’m excited to teach a lot of different things. I think that’s what makes me the most excited – the different books I have on the horizon, I hope students are a fraction of how excited I am to teach them. I’m excited to dive into 1984 with my sophomores. I think I could just list off a bunch of books that I’m excited for… Catcher in the Rye, I’m excited for, with my freshmen… I’m excited to see what the Huck Finn paper is all about. To really dive into [everything], I’m looking forward to that.