Mrs. Sue Cassel, a gem of the English department


Skyler Simpson

One of North Penn’s most well known English teachers, Mrs. Cassel takes pride in both her students and books.

Mrs. Susan Cassel has been a staple at North Penn for years. Teaching English in A-Pod, she puts all her energy into helping her students learn something new every day. Although each student is different, she takes pride in all of her classes.

“The students energize me. They are always coming up with fun ideas, and each class has its own personality,” she noted. “It’s just so much fun to meet them and follow them through the years.”

When she graduated high school, she knew that she wanted to go to college. However, there weren’t many options. The basic two degrees were for becoming a nurse or a teacher. Cassel immediately vetoed becoming a nurse because she fainted at the sight of blood, so teaching was the best option. As time went on, she realized she really loved it.

Although she makes it look effortless, she admits that being a teacher isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work each day. When you do it with passion, however, it shows.

“Some people get all the learning done but realize there’s nothing there. It’s hard to be taught to you… It’s in you. Some people can find it right away, some people take longer. But you know the teachers who have that,” she acknowledged.

As with every career, there are pros and cons. Cassel’s least favorite part about her job are meetings, and although she enjoys GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan) meetings, she believes that other ones don’t maximize her time.

“Meetings are worthwhile. But there are times when I feel people aren’t paying attention to all the days that are being taken away from doing what we should be doing,” stated Cassel.

Meetings aside, Cassel’s passion for the English language is what lights her fire each day. She makes it a personal goal to help her students open up to new possibilities. She has a no-tolerance policy for a closed mind. In her classroom, you have to come with a pencil, your Chromebook, and a positive attitude.

One of the most important things taught in her class is required reading. Each book takes a significant time to read, only because she feels it’s important for her students to absorb the content that the books provide. In terms of her favorite book, she has a mixed opinion.

“I have to say, I was one of the people who picked Life of Pi as a summer read, so I do love that. But in terms of opening your eyes to something, it’s a tie between Catcher – it’s old but still fresh – and A Tale of Two Cities – it’s so dense and has so much to say,” explained Cassel. 

All 3 books are typically taught in sophomore year. Life of Pi is read over the summer, while The Catcher in the Rye and A Tale of Two Cities are read later in the year. In terms of difficulty, Cassel has admitted that most students are intimidated by the intensity of the read. It’s density turns students off, but she believes that with the right mindset, they can get a lot out of the read.

If there’s one thing she wants people to know when they leave her classroom for the last time, it’s to keep an open mind.

“Be open to new things. Don’t say you can’t do something, cause if you have the right set of circumstances, you can do anything,” advised Cassel.