Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

Grand Haven's student publication of community significance since 1927

The Bucs' Blade

An English Teachers Unexpected Journey to Educating

The story of how and why Will Hewitt chose to become a teacher
Ian Burley
English teacher Will Hewitt helps two students on an assignment during academy. Hewitt welcomes any questions on any assignments.


When Will Hewitt decided to go to a dinner party for one of his college classes, the thing he never anticipated was that it would influence his future career choice. At the time, Hewitt was studying chemistry at Hope College and had only had minor thoughts about pursuing a career in teaching. 

After Hewitt finished dinner, he decided to make his way to the kitchen, when he encountered a familiar face in his college adviser. They chatted for a while, but what made Hewitt really think, was when his adviser asked him what he was planning to do with his chemistry degree.

“I was like, honestly, I don’t know,” Hewitt said. “I just know I don’t want to be a doctor and I don’t want to work in medicine. She told me that 80% of the people who were taking chem and bio were going pre-med, and I did not want to do that.”

This led to his adviser asking him if he had ever considered being a teacher. Although the thought had always been in his mind, he had never contemplated whether he could pursue it as a career.

 “I had a good experience with my mentors, my coaches, my teachers, and I looked up to them,” Hewitt said. “So I felt like me wanting to be a teacher. It was almost like full circle.”

Now in the middle of his seventh year teaching English, it’s apparent how much Hewitt enjoys teaching from the connections and environment that he creates in the classroom. After sharing good things, he tends to wander around the front of the classroom zipped up tight in his jacket sharing his enjoyments and issues with his students. Sometimes it’s a quick comment about a bother, or an exciting monologue about an interest that lights up the whole classroom. Once he’s spoken his mind, Hewitt goes over the plan for the day before releasing his students to finish their daily duties and pressing play on his favorite Spotify playlist. This along with Hewitt’s openness to helping his students, creates a peaceful environment for students to thrive in.

Although his family was filled with teachers, Hewitt hadn’t always thought that he was going to be one.

“My dad was a teacher and my mom was a school nurse,” Hewitt said. “So I don’t think I ever went into school thinking I was going to be a teacher. But as time went by, I just kind of realized that’s probably where I could be.”

Once Hewitt realized that he wanted to pursue a career in teaching, he knew he needed to obtain an English degree. After attending various colleges on his path to success, Hewitt made his final stop at Grand Valley State University where he got his English degree. He then went on to get his first taste at teaching at Grand Haven in 2016 while taking an education course where he watched and observed English teacher Angel Dean. 

“I think he’s really thoughtful,” Dean said. “His morals are the highest that you can imagine, and I think his teaching style reflects that. He’s very true to himself, and he’s very loyal to his students and does the best he can for them.”

Hewitt got his first real teaching job as a long term substitute for English teacher Dacia Albaugh in 2017. From the first time she met him, Albaugh knew that Hewitt would be the right person for the job.

“He is the kind of person you want in your classroom,” Albaugh said. “He knew the protocols. He knew the school-like tone. He knew the culture already in the building. You want that kind of person, because you know he’s going to do a great job.”

After finishing up his one mandatory year of subbing, Hewitt decided to apply for a job as an English teacher at Grand Haven High School. He ended up getting the job, and although he wasn’t fond of the idea of working at his old high school, he soon realized how great of a situation it was.

Teacher Will Hewitt works at his desk during academy. Hewitt uses his academy time to grade assignments and work on his college homework.

“I love my coworkers, I love working with the administration, where I feel respected and valued,” Hewitt said. “And I was like, how often are you going to find that place where you just love coming to work?”

It’s not just the administration that respects and loves Hewitt’s teaching, but students also admire the way he connects and relates to them. One former student, Marlee Kolkema, greatly appreciated the way Hewitt made learning into a great experience rather than just teaching the material solely because he had to.

“There was never a bad day in that class, I always looked forward to going,” Kolkema said. “I feel like I never had to worry about anything in his classroom. Like when we learned about Romeo and Juliet, he didn’t really call on people like other teachers did because he understood that kids were scared to talk in front of the class.”

Along with teaching his students, Hewitt is also enrolled in college courses and is receiving assignments regularly. These assignments in addition to school work, can lead to Hewitt being busy during and after work. However, no matter how busy Hewitt is during class or in academy, he always puts the work aside to help a confused student. Hewitt is constantly asking himself how he would want to be treated by a teacher if he was one of his students. This mindset along with his compassion towards others makes him relatable among his students.

“I think one of the best ways to be a teacher is to constantly put yourself in your students’ shoes,” Hewitt said. “You’ve got to ask yourself, how would you want to learn? How would you want to be held? How would you want to be understood?”

Hewitt credits much of his teaching style to what he enjoyed about his former high school teachers. He wants students to know that they can ask him questions when needed. He wants to be a person that students aren’t afraid to talk to because he knows firsthand how that feels.

“What’s my teaching style?” Hewitt asked. “I would say, just trying to be a relentless source of empathy and kindness for students who are going through a really difficult and daunting aspect of their lives.”

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