More than a Job


Hojnacki teaches one of her many math classes (photo by C. Smotherman).

Lily Haney, Online EiC

Upon graduation, many people ask seniors how they are feeling about leaving. However, nobody seems to ask the teachers, who’ve been with those students for four years, how they are feeling.

Some teachers came in at the same time as the class of 2023, like Paige Husa, history teacher. These teachers have to let go of the first class they’ve had for all four years.

“The seniors now are really near and dear to my heart because I came in at the same time they did,” Husa said. “It’s bittersweet, I think is the only word for it, because obviously I know they are going off to do great things, [but] I’ll miss them.”

Teachers who have been through this are excited to watch the next step for their students become a reality.

“When they actually graduate, it’s awesome and you’re super proud and excited for them to leave and have a future,” Stephanie Hojnacki, math teacher, said. “I know that was an amazing opportunity for me so I love that for my kids.”

Many teachers created close relationships with some of their students. These mean a lot to the teachers.

“[A relationship with students] is the best part of teaching, for sure. I value it, I don’t even know how to quantify it,” Husa said.

These connections come in many different ways. One way Hojnacki wants to connect is by leaving her students with a positive impact.

“Any time that I can truly get to know a kid, I feel like I have not just done my job, but let a kid know that they were worth getting to know,” Hojnacki said. “That they have worth, meaning, and being, and they have somebody who got to know the [person] they wanted to be.”

With teachers that generally teach the underclassmen, they have to put in a bit more work to continue the connection.

“I make an effort to support the things they are involved in, whether that be going to an athletic event or making sure I attend the musical or play,” Hojnacki said. “It does take a lot of mental investment, but it’s the choice I want to make.”

Many teachers will look to keep a relationship going with their students after they graduate.

“After graduation it’s hard, because you all are in different places, but obviously social media and facebook and stuff; even though I’m not constantly in contact with them, I can see what they’re up to,” Husa said.

These relationships leave teachers with something more than the accomplishment of teaching a young mind, but with a greater impact for the lives of both the student and the teacher.

“There are kids that choose to share a lot of their life with me after they graduate and that’s pretty nice,” Hojnacki said. “It means when I was feeling more like a mom than a teacher, I was.”