Story: What a way to end first year of teaching …

Hannah Rogers

HAWKINSVILLE, GEORGIA: Hannah Rogers has this look – it is one that draws others in. Someone said it is a combination of true, inner joy and determination and character.

Hannah, age 23, would probably just brush that off, and just say she is just who she is.

Originally from Cochran, Hannah is a fourth grade teacher in the Pulaski County School System. This past term was her first as a teacher – and what a term it was  – hello to a pandemic named coronavirus.

Hannah, who is a twin and comes from a strong family background of educators, has taken it all in stride.

“I do come from a family of educators who have pushed and guided me along this journey. They have encouraged me to keep going even on my hardest days. I have the best family and support system that anyone could ever imagine, ” Hannah said. “My family has made sure that I never go without and especially that my classroom and students never go without. I always remember riding to school every morning with either my mom or dad since my mom worked at the elementary school and my dad at the middle school for a few years, and then the high school. I would sit in my mom’s classroom in the afternoons after school and I just loved seeing ‘behind the scenes’ of a classroom.”

She said, “I feel like the career of teaching definitely chose me more than I chose it. Don’t get me wrong, I knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a teacher one day. I remember playing school with my sister when we were young. As I got older, I wasn’t as sure about teaching, and if it was for me. I actually first received a degree in criminal justice before applying for the education program. Nonetheless, teaching was something I could not stray away from. I come from a long line of teachers from my parents, to my grandparents and even my great-grandmother.”

Hannah remarked, “Teaching is just in my blood.”

“Being that my parents were both educators, I definitely did not get away with much of anything especially in high school! My parents always knew if something happened before I did. Looking back now, that was probably a good thing, but as a teenager I hated it!,” she laughed.

Hannah said, “Being educators, my parents were able to spend so much time with me and my siblings growing up. We were able to spend weekends, holidays and summer vacations together, and that is something that I am looking forward to being able to do with my children one day.”

“My granddad, Ben Rogers, also influenced me in deciding to become a teacher. He was a well known math teacher at Middle Georgia for many years and many people connect with me through him. Math has never been my favorite subject nor have I ever been very good at it honestly. I remember as a young child all the way up through my first couple years at Middle Georgia State College going to my granddad for math help.”

Hannah continued, “ At the time, it was not always the most enjoyable times spending hours at my grandparents’ kitchen table completing math equations that I hardly understood, but looking back now, I would not trade those memories for anything. My ‘Gaga and Meme’ have been incredible supporters of me during my journey to get my degree. They have been some of my biggest cheerleaders.”

In reflecting on her career thus far, Hannah said, “As with any job, there are definitely struggles that come along with teaching, but the good and exciting times definitely out way the bad. I think the best thing about my job is getting to interact with students and getting to know them personally.”

She said, “Being a teacher is so much more than teaching standards and giving assignments. When you are in the classroom with 20 kids, five days a week, you really get to see their knowledge and personalities flourish.”

As per the pandemic, Hannah said, “COVID-19 has impacted my outlook on life in general. So much has changed. I am a goer. I am so used to going out and about from going out to eat, shopping, social gatherings… you name it.”

“I obviously have not been able to do any of that in awhile, and it makes you really cherish the times that you do have those freedoms. COVID-19 has also changed the way I teach my students,” she said, adding,”Virtual learning has been a learning curve for teachers, students and parents. It has been a stressful time making sure that I am doing and saying the right thing as a teacher, at the right times. Thankfully, I have had constant support from family, friends, co-workers and even my students’ parents.”

Hannah said, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I have changed how often I leave the house to go out in public. I have stayed home lately more than ever. I’ve also had to change the amount of time I get to spend visiting with my friends and family, which has been pretty hard.” 

“During all of this, I can positively say that I have had more me time. I have been able to reflect on things in my life more than I have been able to in the past year. Even with this crisis going on, life has really slowed down for me, and for that I am thankful.”

She said, “I have definitely caught up on my lack of sleep, I have been able to cook way more than I have in the past year (don’t know if my clothes love me for that) and I have simply had more time to focus on myself.”

Hannah continued, “The biggest change that I will probably make in my career due to COVID-19 is the use of more technology in the classroom. It was an adjustment getting not only the students used to using Google classroom to complete assignments, but also an adjustment for myself on how to correctly upload assignments and check student work.”

“I can at least say that during this pandemic, I learned how to better utilize technology in the classroom.”

Hannah added, “In August, I will begin my second year of teaching fourth grade at Pulaski County Elementary School. I also plan to begin my masters degree in the fall. Following my masters degree, I plan to obtain my specialist degree.”

“I am not sure what the future holds for me in regards to my teaching career, but I do know one thing. I know that God will lead me on the path he has planned for me. Life does not always go as we plan it, but the ultimate plan is already laid out before us”

In offering advice or encouragement to others, Hannah said, “Everything happens for a reason whether we understand that reason or not. Keep pushing through. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.”  – Submitted by Rebecca

(c)RLHWRITES2020
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Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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