'High School Is Not Easy. It's Not'

Mar 3, 2014

Chapel Hill High School English instructor Michael Irwin and senior Madison Gunning
Credit Madison Gunning

'You've always supported me in what I've wanted to do and you've always been someone to talk to if I needed to, because high school is not easy. It's not.'- Madison Gunning

WUNC is in the midst of a yearlong examination of what it's like to be an educator, called the North Carolina Teacher Project. This week, we're exploring what it takes to make a connection in the classroom by asking students to interview their teachers.

Twelfth grader Madison Gunning has a passion for working on projects that empower young women. She says that started in Michael Irwin's English class at Chapel Hill High School. The class explores themes of social justice in literature. Madison loves the class, and has even worked out some lessons of her own for other kids, like one based on a song about body image.

Now, Mr. Irwin calls Madison a youth advocate. She's considering a career in social work, thanks in part to him.

Madison developed a lesson for young women based on the song Body Love by Mary Lambert. "Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet...":

Madison's conversation with Michael Irwin is part of WUNC's My Teacher series. It's also a part of American Graduate-Let’s Make it Happen!- a public media initiative to address the drop out crisis, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The My Teacher series is produced and facilitated by Will Michaels.

Want to submit your own story about a teacher? We'd like to hear it!