A Feature on a Teacher: Tes Howell


Elliot Smith

While Tiffany Howell never anticipated becoming a high school teacher, she has become an integral part of the Archie Williams teaching staff.

Have you ever thought about what your high school teachers did before constructing seating charts and grading papers? Current AP Language and Composition and Economics teacher Tes Howell was a translator, German teacher, and teen magazine editor before becoming a teacher at Archie Williams.

Tes Howell grew up with no expectation to become a high school English teacher. When she was in high school in Montana, Howell had big dreams of a grand lifestyle outside of her hometown. 

“I was going to move to France and change my name to Christiane and live this very cosmopolitan life. As long as I was not living in Montana anymore,” Howell said.

Her plan when thinking about the future was to be an international lawyer, the furthest profession from a high school teacher. However, after taking a German class, she was hooked. 

“I loved it, and I got a position after college teaching American culture and American English in the former East Germany,” Howell said.

After falling in love with teaching the German language, Howell traveled back to The States to earn her masters in German and start teaching in America.

“I am a language teacher at heart; that was all my training for 10 years. . .” Howell said.

While Howell was interested in teaching, she still wasn’t thinking about teaching high schoolers. Early in her teaching career, she taught at Florida State University, UC Berkeley, and then Southern Methodist University. She spent her time at SMU instructing other educators on teaching English as someone’s second language in mainstream classes.

“I spent my whole career teaching adults. Teaching college students mostly. After Southern Methodist University I went back to UC Berkeley and taught language and composition courses there. Then I turned my focus to High School, subbing and working with 10,000 degrees, and decided to go ahead and get my credentials,” Howell said.

It’s hard to imagine teachers working in different professions. However, learning about Tes Howell’s previous careers proves that one’s life changes as fast as your passions do.