Ms. McCroskey is one of the current English teachers at New Haven High School. She teaches English 1A, English 3, English 4, English 4 Honors, and Journalism. This is Ms. McCroskey’s third year; however, this isn’t her first teaching position like many had assumed. She did her student teaching at the high school she went to in Brentwood, TN, and taught for a year at West End Middle and High School in Nashville, TN.
Everyone always has something that they favor above all else, so why wouldn’t a teacher have a favorite class? When asked her favorite class to teach, Ms. McCroskey responded, “Easy-- English 4 and 4 Honors. Not that I dislike the other classes, but British literature is what I went to school for, what I love. It's in my veins.”
However Ms. McCroskey is more than just a high school English teacher. Like the rest of society, she has a life outside of her work.
Ms. McCroskey’s hometown is Nashville, TN. She graduated from Brentwood High in 2010. Ms. McCroskey later went to Indiana University, graduating in 2014. When she left Indiana, she had a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Master’s in education.
Teaching hasn’t always been her dream job. Ms. McCroskey said that she “considered for a while working in publishing.”
Ms. McCroskey explained, “I'm good with editing and writing, so working with book publications would be cool. But I think the reality of that job is very different than what I once thought. I have a good friend in the publishing business, and instead of the glamorous vision of cuddling up by the fire and editing manuscripts, it seems like it's mostly boring cubicle work."
As students and some of the other teachers at NHHS have noticed, Ms. McCroskey has several flags hung around her room. She has explained to students in the past that she has a flag for every country she has traveled to.
“I think I count 20, give or take,” Ms. McCroskey begins after being asked how many countries she has traveled to and which would be her favorite. “And I couldn't possibly choose a favorite!”
Ms. McCroskey continues, “If you're asking for a place that feels like home, it's England. If you're looking for the wildest place I've ever been, it's Iceland. The most fascinating culturally? Russia. The most beautiful? Austria. The hottest? Portugal. The most stressful? France (but only because of my fellow travelers).”
Her classroom isn’t just English and talks of her travels, however. Ms. McCroskey has made it clear in all of her classes that she is an animal lover; which is something that has not changed since she was a child.
When questioned about her childhood pets, she explained, “We had a couple hamsters, which all ran away. I remember one's name was Warwick (my dad named him). After them, we had 2 rabbits for a while-- Clover and Smokey. We had a Dalmatian/Beagle mix too when I was really young, but I don't remember him much. His name was Domino.”
As I said, her love for animals has not changed. Ms. McCroskey currently has “three lovely pups! Bella is my brother's German Shepherd/hound mix; Finnegan is a sweet little goof of a Retriever and Keeshond mix; and Nox is a Border Collie/lab. She's the youngest, and as my husband says, ‘She's trouble.’”
Although she still goes by Ms. McCroskey, she is married. Her husband is Conor McClenaghan.
“He's working a post-doctoral position as a pharmacologist at WashU in St. Louis. He's English-- he grew up near Manchester in the north of England and went to Oxford University for his Ph.D. He's annoyingly smart,” Ms. McCroskey explains.
If her description doesn’t scream love for you, they met in “a hostel in Berlin… in November of 2012… I was traveling with 2 friends, and he had 5 other boys with him on a ‘lads holiday,’ as he called it. Our hostel room slept 9, so that's how we met. We were hostel roommates! Crazy, right?”
Aside from her education, her career, her British husband, and her love for animals, Ms. McCroskey has many favorites.
Her favorite foods are “Mexican, Indian, or bread and pasta in general.”
“My favorite movie is a giant tie between Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, The Sound of Music, You've Got Mail, and a number of Disney movies and romantic comedies,” Ms. McCroskey explained.
When asked her favorite book, she responded with, “The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Hands down.”
“Come on. Christmas every time,” Ms. McCroskey answered without a doubt when she was asked her favorite holiday.
A big question that has been asked thousands of times is, “If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?”
On the topic of changing the world, Ms. McCroskey answered, “Setting aside things like global peace, solving world hunger, etc., I guess I wish that our culture would slow down a little. The whole ‘life in the fast lane’ thing is wearing us down-- we're working too hard, too much, too fast, and it's great for business, but the nonstop pressure is just crushing sometimes. America is nowhere near the top in the list of happiest countries in the world, and that simply has to have something to do with our cultural habits and expectations.”
When asked what advice she would give to younger generations, Ms. McCroskey responded with, “When you're young, you're too afraid to be dorky and look stupid. That goes for every generation though-- it's just a growing up thing. I wish high school age kids would just cut loose and be goofier. In class, I embarrass myself all the time, but I don't care. Life is too short to worry about being embarrassed! I just wish high schoolers weren't wasting their precious time worrying about what people think. It's way more fun making yourself laugh (as my students know well-- I tell many jokes that are directed only at myself).”
As you can see, Ms. McCroskey is more than just a high school English teacher. She is a world traveler, a wife, an animal lover, and so much more. She has accomplished many great things and still has many more adventures to go on. The younger generations-- her students-- can learn more than just English from her.