By Hanna Wickes
Did you always want to be a teacher?
I did. I used to play ‘teacher’ when I was little, 5 or 6 years old. Back when I was 5, I went to this fair and they had a cartoonist there that asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said “teacher,” and he drew me as a teacher--I still have it to this day.
But I actually got into pharmaceutical sales when I got into college because everyone told me teaching didn’t make money. I hated it. I went back to school after having my kids, and so I was 37 and it was pretty much my second career and I fell absolutely in love with it.
What do you like most about the job?
I just love the enthusiasm for learning and the growth that you see and that you’re a part of. Can’t have a bad day when you’re around kids.
Tell us about this past year--good and bad.
It’s been a challenging year of course, we’re building a plane and flying it at the same time. But--what an amazing learning experience when you think about it. I certainly don’t prefer remote teaching, but it did allow a more intimate relationship between teacher and student--they got to see inside my house through the computer, and I would see their home, bedrooms, my dog Rosie would jump in my lap during instruction...It was quite interesting.
What motivates you?
The students. When they get excited about learning, I get excited about learning. It motivates me when they want to learn more. We’re learning about Mars right now, and they just want to know more and more. They get so excited about something like that, and that motivates me to create models of satellites and spaceships to show them.
I’m a lifelong learner, I love to learn, it’s fun to me. The thing about teaching, it’s not one recipe.
One piece of advice you’d give someone considering becoming a teacher?
There’s no right way to do anything. Make sure to reflect, we can always learn by reflection and trying something new every day. But believe me, I’m no know-it-all, I’m constantly changing and reflecting.
What do you do when you’re not teaching?
I love to go hiking and camping. And I read a lot, I’m a huge book nerd.