Heads up! It’s Mrs. Showalter!


By Madeleine Verby & Natalie Flynn


Supervisor of the creative writing club, and disembodied-doll head enthusiast, English teacher, Mrs. Julia Showalter is one of the newest additions to Oakdale High School this year. Currently, she teaches English 11 and AP Literature and Composition, but will also be teaching a new Creative Writing elective that will be introduced next year for juniors and seniors.


Mrs. Showalter taught for six years at Franklin High School in Baltimore County before coming to teach at Oakdale. She says she knew she wanted to teach, but it was when she was nominated for an English award in high school that she became interested in teaching her current subject. So far, she has enjoyed her time at Oakdale, and is impressed by the “climate of learning” and “work ethic” of her students.


It was at Franklin High School where Mrs. Showalter first supervised a creative writing and art magazine, called Junto. This year, she is introducing a similar magazine at Oakdale, called The Pen and the Paw. It will be sixty pages of student writing and artwork, published this spring. When asked what students can expect from the new creative writing elective next year, she said there will be three units, and that students will write nonfiction, poetry, personal narratives, fiction, and screenplay.


We interviewed one of her first semester AP Lit students, Senior Brian Herman, who described Mrs. Showalter as “friendly,” and, “willing to go off the beaten path”. His advice for anyone who takes AP Lit with Mrs. Showalter is that there is a lot of homework, and to get it done quickly, early in the week.


Mrs. Showalter’s classroom has many interesting adornments, including but not limited to student-made art, a palm-reading diagram and a delightful lamp. Simple in design, but deep in meaning, said lamp features a disembodied doll head.


Naturally, we had to ask about its origin story.


“Oh, Maurice!” She gushed, explaining that her students had given the lamp its name. She said that Maurice was a present from her husband.


When met with quizzical stares she laughed. “I don’t know,” she said, “We’re just weird.”