Raphael to pursue career as poet, professional writer

By Keane Muraoka-Robertson

After teaching Upper School English for the last five years, Jennifer Raphael will be leaving to pursue a career as writer and take poetry classes.

Raphael started teaching in the fall of 2005. Since then, she has taught English II and English III to sophomores and juniors, respectively.

“‘The Virgin Suicides’ is my favorite book [to teach],” Raphael said. “It’s a well-written, gripping tale about growing up that really speaks to the students.”

Raphael fondly remembers when she first started teaching at Harvard-Westlake. She is still amazed by how warm her new colleagues were.

“I have an amazing team with the English department and they are so welcoming,” Raphael said.

“From the moment she joined the department, Ms. Raphael been a pleasure to work with,” Upper School English teacher Jeremy Michaelson said. “She’s very centered, the kind of poised, thoughtful person who inspires trust.

“She’s just solid, a great reader, a great friend, someone who knows exactly who she is and is able to be generous and giving as a result,” Michaelson said. “You can’t really ask much more from a colleague.”

Robert Lee ’14, one of her current studens, will miss class discussions the most.

“She is really nice, and she is also really interesting because she has a lot to say about things,” Lee said. “She poses good questions and we always have a good discussion. She’s good at sparking conversations among students.”

In addition to teaching English, Raphael was the faculty adviser of Stonecutters, a literary magazine, for five years.

“I loved working with the students on something outside their classroom work and getting to know them through their art and literature,” Raphael. “That’s been really fulfilling and fun.”

Raphael majored in American Studies at UCLA, and later went to USC for graduate school. She is looking forward to taking classes again and studying poetry.

“I love this school and I’m going to miss being here,” Raphael said.