Meet Hamlin Associate Teacher Claudia Tropp ’09

What was your journey after you graduated from Hamlin?

Based on the connections I made with my elementary school teachers, I knew I wanted to be a teacher from an early age. Understanding what I wanted to work towards in terms of a career helped in finding schooling and employment that furthered my goal. While in high school, I worked at Hamlin’s HUB after school program. After classes, I would walk to work to oversee student play and help them with their homework. Every summer since high school I have worked at Hamlin’s incoming kindergarten Cubs Club camp.

After graduating from high school, I moved an hour south to attend Santa Clara University. I majored in Liberal Studies and spent time in school classrooms as an aide. One of my college highlights was a summer seminar I took called Children in a Multicultural Context, which was based in Copenhagen and included a study tour to Istanbul.

My “big move” finally happened when I decided to attend USC’s Rossier School of Education to earn a Master’s in Teaching. While I was in Los Angeles, multiple Hamlin friends came to visit so I was able to play tour guide and eat at restaurants all over the county. Upon completing the program, I returned to my foggy hometown and started work as an Associate Teacher at Hamlin.

What made you decide to come back and teach at Hamlin?

I always knew I wanted to return to Hamlin because I loved the school as a student and knew that the community was special. If you open the Hamlin yearbook from the year I graduated and look for my 8th grade photo, you will see that my answer to “Most likely to be…” is “either a fourth or second grade teacher at Hamlin.” The fantastic teachers I had in those two grades really inspired me to follow my dreams and pursue a career in teaching. As a result, I have had the privilege of teaching both Grades One and Two here.

What has changed the most at Hamlin since you were a student?

It feels as though the curriculum is more interesting and innovative. Now teachers focus on how to create cross curricular connections and integrate more meaningful projects into the school year. In terms of curriculum in general, students learn differently because we are teaching them how to think and the reasoning behind the concepts rather than requiring students to memorize information.

What has changed the least at Hamlin since you were a student?

The drive and work ethic of the students and faculty is one thing that has not changed. Students strive to do their best each day and use their voices to stand up for what they believe is right. At the same time, teachers put a large amount of time into creating and sharing rigorous material in ways students can more easily comprehend.

What are you most excited about being back at Hamlin?

I have loved being back at Hamlin and working with faculty that was here when I was a student. Last year I was able to see my kindergarten teacher, the fabulous Mrs. Ching, in the halls at work almost every day. How many people can say that? I was lucky enough to spend time in the McKinne building in the year before its demolition and was able to create new memories there with students and colleagues.

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