If you don’t already know, Hannah Jacoby-Rupp was the substitute for Chelsea Koehler over her maternity leave. The following is a question and answer between Hannah and I.
What made you want to be a teacher?
I was volunteering at a boys’ juvenile detention center teaching poetry as a pre-law student during my Senior year of college, and I realized that what actually made me feel fulfilled was working with kids to help them realize their potential as learners and people. I had an outstanding education when I was younger, and I felt like it was my duty to make others love learning, to feel supported and to feel challenged. I was drawn to Middle School, because I recall that time period as being particularly unpleasant for me. I desperately wanted to fit in and yet I desperately wanted to be seen as an individual. I would have loved to have a teacher that understood that constant battle I was fighting inside.
Who was someone that inspired you to be a teacher?
One of my English teachers at Springside named Deborah Dempsey was a tremendous inspiration to me. She taught me in 8th Grade, 10th Grade and 12th Grade. I was not always the most “delightful” student when I was younger, but Mrs. Dempsey never gave up on me or decided that I was a finished product! I used to get coffee with her several times a year after I graduated from Springside. She could also tell you the Greek root of any word, and her cursive handwriting was stunning!
What has been your favorite thing about working at GFS?
I have to honestly say that I have never met such warm and welcoming students. I have taught for 18 years and I know from personal experience that not every group of students would be so kind and trusting with some random teacher who walked into their classroom in December. Just as amazingly, all of my colleagues have been just as supportive and kind! I was genuinely devastated over Spring Break – I missed seeing everyone!
What are some of your favorite memories from your time here (funny or serious)?
I loved the 8th Grade vignette project. My students made me laugh and cry through their rich use of language. I would sometimes pick up my phone and text my former colleagues about how “these GFS kids are no joke at writing!” I appreciated how many people were willing to take risks in their writing and reveal things about themselves.
I have honestly laughed everyday and during every class period while I have been here…except when people flip markers, take my iced tea or close my windows!
What did you enjoy most about your homeroom?
I loved my crazy homeroom. We could switch from having a serious political conversation to hitting a beachball to watching a video that made us giggle to stuffing our mouths with donuts or muffins in the blink of an eye. It was the best way to start my day every morning. I also felt that members of our homeroom genuinely care about each other and about honoring everyone’s strengths. While they certainly didn’t enjoy my lesson on meditation, I appreciated how they let me act like a lunatic when we participated in any competitive activity.
What was your favorite competition of the year (gingerbread, advertisement, easter)?
This is a tough choice, but I love how well we gelled for the Easter competition. Everyone played a role and stepped outside of their comfort zone for the benefit of the group. I also loved how we had a little swagger in our step, because “we don’t lose!” The best part of the whole competition though was that I saw everyone laughing at some point. That is the best way to win!