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The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

The Student Voice of Prosper High School

Eagle Nation Online

English teacher’s ‘direct’ teaching style influences students

Whiteside, others share perspectives on his effect on education, learning
Standing+by+the+board%2C+Mr.+Whiteside+educates+his+students+about+poetry.+Whiteside+teaches+Honors+English+I+and+GT+Humanities.+This+is+his+seventh+year+working+at+Prosper+HS.
Sofia Ayala
Standing by the board, Mr. Whiteside educates his students about poetry. Whiteside teaches Honors English I and GT Humanities. This is his seventh year working at Prosper HS.

Standing in front of Room 1210, English teacher Benjamin Whiteside spreads his own signature-brand of “direct” humor, which his students say brings learning to life and makes them want to come to both English and humanities classes.

Whiteside initially had the goal of becoming a sports broadcaster. His idea involved a career based on his favorite sport – baseball. His aspiration to coach has stayed a part of his goals, as well. He didn’t expect that he would choose the field of education, specifically classroom work, though. As he enters his seventh year at Prosper High, he has officially taught every level of English at some point in his career. 

“The desire to coach was basically when I started it,” Whiteside said. “But the more that I was in the actual place, the more I fell in love with teaching.”

Whiteside graduated from Wayland Baptist University. During his four years there, he played baseball and achieved his goal of broadcasting. He worked as a radio announcer for the Wayland Baseball Team. He also volunteered as a baseball coach at Sanger High for two years.

Freshman Akshita Kumar has Whiteside for English I.

“He’s really good at getting students to dig deeper into their own thoughts,” Kumar said. “He helps them pull out the best in their work and themselves as a whole.”

Kumar said his enthusiasm and energy make her look forward to class.

“His energetic personality helps to hook students into his teaching,” Kumar said. “And, (his content delivery) helps them understand the subject rather than ignoring it because it’s boring.”

Whiteside uses his style of humor to grasp the attention of students as well as make the classroom engaging. 

“I think that being more authentically me in the classroom – that’s just my natural personality and style of interacting,” Whiteside said. “Students respond pretty well in terms of building stronger, more authentic relationships.”

Whiteside said he likes to be up-to-date with teen lifestyles. This helps him understand his students’ perspectives better as well as helps him build healthy relationships within the classroom. 

Freshman Sahasra Dittakavi takes Whiteside’s GT Humanities course.

“I feel that he gets to know his student’s level in the class,” Dittakavi said. “He uses that to motivate them in different ways to reach their potential.”

Emily Koonce, a colleague of Whiteside’s, also teaches in the English Department.

“He is very direct, and he wants to challenge his students,” Koonce said. “He wants to make sure that students are pushed enough to be the best they can be.”

Whiteside said he enjoys the classroom environment, and he wants to push himself as well as his students to aim higher. 

“I don’t know if I’ve reached what I’ve aimed for yet,” Whiteside said. “I’m pretty controlled in what I’ve done so far.”

Students like Sahasra Dittakavi said they feel he has them on the right track to reach his goals – and their own, and Whiteside does so in an inviting way.

“High School has been all over the place so far, piling more and more work onto the list,” Dittakavi said. “Yet, walking into his classroom puts a smile on my face, helping me to step away from my worries.”

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About the Contributors
Srihitha Madepalli
Srihitha Madepalli, Reporter
Srihitha Madepalli, originally from Frisco, Texas,  is a freshman at Prosper High School. This is her first year working for Eagle Nation Online, serving as a reporter. Outside of school, she loves to listen to music, dance, and hang out with friends and family. She hopes to expand her knowledge and skills of writing and photography through ENO.
Anisha Mandem
Anisha Mandem, Assistant Editor
Anisha is a junior, and this is her third year on ENO. She is currently an Assistant Editor and the Editorial Section Editor. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she moved to Texas at the end of 2021 and works for the newspaper as a writer and a videographer. She is also the founder and president of the non-profit NeuroNext Foundation, the PHS Model UN team, and is a part of SNHS. Outside of school, she enjoys playing the piano, running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Sofia Ayala
Sofia Ayala, Assistant Print Editor
Sofia Ayala is a junior at Prosper High School. This is her third year working for Eagle Nation Online. She currently serves as Assistant Editor for Eagle Nation Times, and served as the Feature editor in the past. Sofia is part of the varsity PHS Talonettes where she enjoys to work together with her team. Outside of school, she enjoys going out on runs, reading, and listening to music.  
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