Oxbridge Academy English teacher Amy Jurskis is going back to school herself this summer.
Jurskis, 44, who will be the chair of the independent secondary school’s English department next school year, has won a scholarship from the English Speaking Union of the United States to attend its British University Summer School (BUSS) scholars program this summer studying Victorian fiction and modernist fiction at Oxford University, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Jurskis will spend three weeks at Oxford living in the Exeter dorms and spending about 45 hours in classes learning about the works of Charles Dickens, George Elliot, James Joyce, Virginia Wolfe and others. She will learn about the historical context of their novels and how they influenced later writers. She will write two papers on what she learns.
“This is very exciting to get to be in the places where the authors actually lived and where their fiction is set,” Jurskis said. “I teach two Victorian novels in class right now, so I am looking forward to learning more about the context and being able to bring that back to my students.”
Jurskis, who has taught at Oxbridge for the last three years, is also a freelance writer for Harper Collins and Random House. She has written more than a dozen teaching guides on bestselling titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird. At Oxbridge, Jurskis leads her freshman honors English class through National Novel Writing Month. Last November, her students penned a combined total of more than one million words in their novels. Jurskis has also been part of the Oxbridge Academy/Cambridge University program, helping to lead juniors as they study abroad with university professors during spring break.
Since 1957, more than 2,000 middle and high school teachers in the United States have been able to go to schools like Oxford and Edinburgh University to further their studies in English literature and creative writing and bring what they’ve learned back to their classrooms in America.
The chance to study at Oxford is just one of the upper-level professional development opportunities that Jurskis said Oxbridge Academy encourages its faculty to pursue to become the best teachers possible for their students. Other Oxbridge faculty members have spent their summers at prestigious institutions, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.