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Meet the Teachers: Mrs. Blake

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Mrs. Blake, a passionate history teacher for sophomores and juniors, sat down with me and opened up about her hobbies, motivations, and more. She also provided insight about how her past experiences helped her to recognize her enthusiasm for teaching and history. With her vivacity and her love of history, she constantly inspires students to to have a positive perspective.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Montvale. It was a really nice town to grow up in, and a really nice community.

How did you know you wanted to teach history?

I always loved history. History was always my favorite subject. In my heart I think I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher.

What is your favorite part about history?

Hm. There are several. I like the fact that there are stories about people, like you and I, and these people who have these ordinary lives are capable of such monumental actions, right? So, it’s so inspiring that one person has the ability to start an entire movement and change the course of history, for the better. That’s the beautiful part of history that makes it really fulfilling to teach. I also like the art of creating an argument; of crafting and then defending an argument, conducting research, producing evidence, crafting a thesis, thinking about potential counter arguments, etc. I think those are really important skill sets to develop as a person, and it really transcends the subject of history. It’s very useful in a plethora of academic subjects, so that element of history is incredibly useful. A very common charge against the subject of history is that it’s useless, random facts in a textbook that are no longer applicable and don’t relate to the modern age. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, not just in the aforementioned skill set, when I mentioned crafting and defending an argument, but it also allows us to make really good decisions in the modern age and in the future, for our society, for our nation, and for ourselves as individuals. For all those reasons, I feel greatly fulfilled in teaching history and I have an enormous amount of respect for the subject of history. I think that our society really needs historical study right now.

What is your favorite part of being a teacher here at BCA?

My wonderful students. I feel so grateful every day for how intellectually curious, compassionate, and empathetic my students are, and that they’re constantly trying to identify problems, figure out solutions, and constantly trying to improve not just the BCA community but also the towns they live in, and the greater national community. That really makes this job so incredibly fulfilling, and it inspires me as a teacher to want to create really innovative and challenging lessons for my students.

Do you have any advice for BCA students?

Yes I do. [laughs] Let me think.

What would you want to tell them as an adult figure?

My advice would be to take one day at a time. It’s important to prepare for the future, and to put yourself in a good position, to achieve future academic goals and career goals, but try to appreciate every day as a new day, to learn something new, to meet a new friend, to discover a new skill that you didn’t even know that you had. Just enjoy being, you know, a young high school student who has so many opportunities, and just try to think about all that you have to be grateful for.

Do you have any favorite childhood memories? It can be funny, if you want.

A funny childhood memory? Um, I’ll tell you something from when I was in high school that really helped me to realize what teaching would be like, and that would ultimately give me the confidence to pursue education. In senior year of high school, I did a senior project for half of the school year, and I created a debate course for my town middle school, so I ended up teaching that class for an entire marking period, to about 15 8th graders, and it was so exhilarating. I felt so alive. I enjoyed developing the curriculum, and I really enjoyed working with those kids, even when I was 17 and 18. I really think that that helped me to acknowledge that education was ultimately my calling.

What are your main hobbies?

I enjoy cooking!

Cooking what?

I’m a pretty adventurous cooker- chef, that’s the word- and I’ll try most foods once, to see if I like it or not, but I like experimenting with different types of food from different cultures and different regions of the world, so that’s definitely a hobby.

What are you best at cooking?

Well, my Argentinian heritage perhaps make me predisposed to be really skilled at cooking steak [laughs], and red meat in general.

I also enjoy running and I used to be an avid singer. Yes, it’s true.

Do you have any role models?

Definitely my parents, for their strength and their constant love, support, and compassion, and their resilience. I try to surround myself with people with positive energy, and people who have a strong sense of self, and I’m inspired by them, whether it be my family or my friends. As I said before, I feel very fortunate to work here, not just for my amazing students but also my co-workers. They’re all so creative and innovative; passionate in their respective fields but also in the art of teaching. I feel very inspired by their presence.

In your classes, you try your best to bring positivity to students and be uplifting. What motivated you to do that?

I think that every single person can use a little boost now and then, and I want to make sure my students are in a good emotional space before we start class. It also fosters a nice sense of community within the class. It forms bonds between students, and it forms bonds between teachers and students. It creates a really nice environment that fosters creativity, where students feel comfortable voicing their opinions or taking academic risks in answering questions, especially high order thinking questions. Positivity is good for the soul but it’s also especially helpful for being a student in my class because it leads to a better class period.

 

Thank you Mrs. Blake!

 

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The student news site of Bergen County Academies
Meet the Teachers: Mrs. Blake