Therese McAllister: Leaner, Teacher, Trainer, Survivor.

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Therese McAllister: Leaner, Teacher, Trainer, Survivor.

Therese McAllister pictured Left

Therese McAllister pictured Left

Therese McAllister pictured Left

Therese McAllister pictured Left


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By: Emma Curcuru

Mrs. McAllister has been teaching for 22 years and is a current resident of West 13, where she dives daily into the complex world of AP Lang. “I love it,” McAllister said. “It’s like my child.”

“I knew I wanted to each an upper-level class,” said McAllister, talking about why she started teaching AP Lang. Through teaching this course she found out how “beautiful” nonfiction can be. She said she “got to learn  and understand what makes a good piece of nonfiction writing, and what it takes to write it.”

McAllister always knew she wanted to be an English teacher, however, it took eight long years to reach her undergraduate degree. “It took so long because I listened to other people tell me I could not realistically be an English teacher,” says McAllister.  She had to waitress her way through college. “For a while, I tried accounting,” she recalled. “It was a waste. You can’t listen to what other people tell you to do; you have to do what you are called to do.”

Another huge part of McAllister’s life belongs to the YMCA, where she teaches seven different fitness classes. “Yoga is the thing I do because I should.” Her real passion, however, lies in strength building. “I started with body pump and body combat.” McAllister also just recently instructed her first spin class, which she loved.

McAllister’s commitment to being strong and physically fit comes from her battle with breast cancer four years ago. “The thing that saved me in the breast cancer was because I was physically fit. It gave me the strength to fight.”

She credits the times she spent in the workout classes as “the only hours I was not afraid I was going to die.” She loved that empowered strength and just kept going, teaching more and more classes to help give that feeling of strength and might to others.

McAllister spends all day educating others. However, it isn’t the teaching that she loves, another one of her passions is learning. “I love learning,” McAllister told me. “I love watching that processes of knowing nothing and creating into something.” McAllister gave the example of the process of her students writing essays. She said she gets to witness a question turn into an idea, which becomes a rough draft, then eventually a polished essay.

Between two jobs, her own children, and currently taking classes to reach a higher certification, it is a miracle McAllister has time to breathe. But when asked how she does it all, her response was a simple, “I just do it,” as if she was asked how she ties her shoes. McAllister calls herself “the kind of person who likes having enough to do.” She said would rather have too much than not enough.

When trying to capture McAllister’s essence in words, she can be best described with a Shakespeare quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

And fierce she is.

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