Teacher

Ashley Hopkins
Ashley Hopkins
Class: English

1. What got you into teaching? While I was working in the emergency room as a medical scribe, I started training new employees, many of whom were terrible at writing basic paragraphs for medical histories. A big part of my job was also teaching doctors how to improve their charting by utilizing language effectively. This teaching-like environment is what led me to consider teaching, and here I am.
2. How long have you been teaching at Riverside Prep? What brought you here? This is my first year at Riverside Prep. I've been looking for a place to call home after leaving my last site, and this is where my job search led me. I'm excited to be here.
3. What do you like about teaching at Riverside Prep? I don't feel afraid to ask questions, which is good, because I ask a lot of them! All the teachers and admin want to help each other get better, and I know I can ask anyone a question without being judge by them.
4. What's the best part about teaching high school students? What's the biggest challenge? High school students have started to develop their identities and explore the world. It's a privilege to come to work and hear about their ideas, questions, triumphs and failures. The biggest challenge is when you feel like they don't meet your expectations. They're stuck somewhere between big kids and young adults, and you have to figure out how to guide them to make good decisions because – cliche or not – they are the future.

5. What's your favorite moment in teaching? I have so many favorite moments. One would have to be from my first year of teaching. We were reading "Brave New World" in class, and we had a discussion about death; the kids were engrossed in the moment and we had a lengthy discussion about life and death afterwards. Another would be one of my students finally earning a B on his paper after his sixth revision. The look of triumph on his face was inspiring. And probably my favorite moment would be a student performing an open letter to his peers about police officers targeting Spanish-speaking parents outside of campus and arguing for change. We actually sent that assignment to the district. It's just basically the "a-ha" moments, the moments when you know they got it. That's what makes teaching worth it.

6. What does it mean to be the High School Teacher of the Month? It's validating. I think everyone likes to be recognized for the work that they've done. So, thank you!
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