A Cincinnati Teacher’s Simple Joy

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A positive teacher who brings out the best in her students is an incredible gift to a growing mind. My Walnut Hills High School intern, Isabella Noe, spoke with Dawn Wolfe. I think you will be moved by this teacher’s inspirational story of how her job brings her joy.

In her own words, from Dawn Wolfe, an English teacher at Walnut Hills High School (a Cincinnati Public School)

Dawn Wolfe is a teacher at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. She shares what brings her joy about teaching.“There is a simple joy of seeing a student in the morning and saying, ‘Hello.’  No matter what that student has done, what they had been through that morning and the night before, they still come into school, and they are ready to say ‘hello’ and they are ready to work.  Even when I give them an essay.  And they still smile, and they are still thankful.

Actually I really love when I hand students an essay and they say ‘thank you.’  And that amuses me to no end, every time, because they are grateful for their learning, and they are thankful for the opportunities they are being given.

The opportunities that I have had at Walnut are different because of the diversity of students here, and the variety of students- not just socio-economic, not just gender, but the level of grades that we have (7-12).  [I enjoy] being able to work with kids when they are very small and scared and new to Walnut…And then when I see them as seniors, and I got to watch them grow and work with them at various points.  I think that is the most amazing opportunity that I have had here.

And then, when they come back and give me hugs after they’ve gone to college; That’s so cool!

One thing I love about teaching is that there is no repetition, even between bells.  I teach the same thing every day, 5 bells a day…every day.  But the comments and opinions of students make it interesting, and each year you get to start with a brand new group of students, a completely clean slate, and reflect on what you’ve done in previous years, and you get to do so much more.

You get to make changes to make things better for the students.  Especially with this new human rights course, I hope I can impart the message that we cannot be passive and let things slip by.  Let’s be upstanders, and make a change in what you want to in the world.

I decided to be an English major because I was the kid who read 5 books at a time when I was little.  But, I was going to go to law school.  I wasn’t going to be a teacher.  But I was so proud of what I saw in students and I wanted to be part of that, and wanted to have fun every day when I went to work; I do have fun every day when I come to work.”

– Dawn Wolfe

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