An Interview with Shea Walters


Shea Walters is a second-year graduate student in the English department and is a part of the Graduate Teaching Fellowship program at Radford University. Shea is studying Professional Writing. As part of her fellowship, Shea teaches two sections of CORE 101 this semester and will teach two sections of CORE 102 next semester. We recently had a chance to sit down with Shea and learn a bit about her personal life and her teaching philosophy, as well as how she sets her classes apart.

Shea lives in Wytheville, Virginia with her husband and enjoys outdoor activities in her time outside of studying and teaching. She is an avid bike rider, hiker, and kayaker.

Shea worked many different jobs before coming to Radford University including many jobs in retail as well as working at the front desk of a hotel. She says that she didn’t want to keep that up and, instead, wanted to focus on her dream. “I realized it isn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’ve always wanted to be an English teacher. A high school English teacher or maybe even a professor, so I decided to go back to school. I always heard that Radford’s English program is one of the best around, so I applied about four years ago and I got in.” Shea finished her coursework for her Bachelor’s degree before applying to Graduate school and the Graduate Teaching Assistantship program.

Shea says that her classrooms are very hands-on and interactive. She isn’t a fan of the more-traditional sit and listen lecture courses but, rather, wants her students to apply the knowledge they have gained in the same setting in which they learned it. She also wants students to understand that the work they are doing is applicable outside of her classroom. “I like to, whenever possible, try to make whatever we’re doing in class relatable to the real world, their future jobs, and their other classes. I try to make the connection to why we’re teaching them to write these essays, so they understand that what they’re learning isn’t just going to be used for that class but for all of their classes.”

Shea says that she tries to be more hands-off sometimes and allow her students to learn the information for themselves. She works very hard to facilitate learning that is mostly student-driven while she is there to assist them when she can. She says that one of her greatest strengths as an educator is organizing information in such a way that students can learn and apply easily. “That’s one thing I’ve really worked towards since I started this program; figuring out what information I need to give them, how much is too much, when is it not enough. I’ve done my best to organize it in such a way that they don’t get overwhelmed.”