Tag Archives: Teaching

Hamlin Teachers Present Action-Research Projects

For the second year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. 24 teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 14. This reflective work serves to make Hamlin a learning institution that continues to grow and strive for excellence in a variety of areas.

The following are just some of the topics that were covered:

Michelle Lovejoy and Rachel Davis developed an interactive Outdoor Ed portal on Hamlinet that shares photos, videos, and other content from all outdoor ed trips.

Gillian Curran designed part of STEM Night to center her classroom on student-led teaching and student-created materials.

Kylie Cobb and Alison Kutnick created an interdisciplinary Social Emotional Unit of Study, specifically for Grade 1, in order to provide students with tools and life skills to support themselves in 6 focus areas: Friendships, Kindness and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Building Confidence, Feelings, Mindfulness, and Resilience.

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From Finance to Teaching Math: An Interview with Mary Kay Kosnik

What do you enjoy about your role at Hamlin? 

I’m currently teaching 6th grade math at Hamlin.  I have a dream job — I get to learn and help students!  Teaching in the middle school is pure magic. I witness great thinking, creativity, growth and joyful collaboration every day.   My students and colleagues are rock stars! The thread of excellence that permeates through Hamlin is what drew me into this diverse, dynamic and soulful community.   Everything that happens at Hamlin is aligned with best practices and continuously scrutinized for improvement.

Tell us about your career before Hamlin. What did you most like about that work?

My professional background is in analytics, research and consulting to the financial services industry.  I began my career at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and later worked on Wall Street as a buy-side equity analyst.  For the bulk of my professional career I worked as a management consultant for KPMG Peat Marwick’s National Financial Services Consulting Group. All of these jobs had a steep learning curve, were entrepreneurial and enabled me to collaborate with very talented people. In consulting I traveled extensively and worked on really unique and exciting high impact projects.

How did you make the decision to go into teaching?

I consider myself a life-long learner and have always been passionate about stepping into service to support students.  While I was working professionally and raising a family (my husband and I have three grown children), I taught and volunteered in classrooms, tutored, and coached and managed youth sports.  I also collaborated on fundraising projects to improve schools and provide scholarships. In higher education, I serve on the Dean’s Council at my alma mater, the University of Michigan. I also mentor undergraduates.  

So I guess I would say that becoming a teacher was a natural progression of my lifelong interest in helping students. I knew that becoming a teacher would be challenging and deeply meaningful work.  As an educator, my goal is to inspire girls to enjoy math and to develop their competence and confidence as mathematicians. We need more women in STEM fields!

What advice to you have for women who would like to work in finance?

Study math, always apply your analytical skills, be bold and decisive, and expect to become the boss!

Finance is creative and fun — every organization needs competent people who can generate, analyze and understand the numbers that ultimately drive decision making and the business.

How does learning math relate to understanding “real world” finance?

I think there is a big misconception that the goal in math is to learn an algorithm to achieve a “correct” answer.  Sure we need this competency, but math is so much more than that! In math we question, explore, investigate, analyze, collaborate, strategize, build, explain, and problem solve in diverse and creative ways.   “Real world” finance is all of this, whether you are managing your allowance, your household or your company.

Interview with Ade Avela Nanti (Teach With Africa)

1) What have you enjoyed about your time at Hamlin?

I have enjoyed the conversations I have had with the teachers and learners at Hamlin. Through them I have learned a great deal about the school and their involvement in their communities.

2) What have you enjoyed about your time in California?

My host family car ride chats, the food and the beautiful landscapes, the friendly people who are always eager to help and share a story whether at the grocery store or bus stop.

3) What is one thing that surprised you about your experience?

How technologically advanced the people in the city are, young and mature, they are in touch and clued up about the available technology of today.

4) Based on your observations, how would you describe a Hamlin girl?

Confident and a mindful global citizen, they are not only aware of themselves but they deeply care about the world and people at large.

5) What knowledge/wisdom/realization from your visit do you hope to continue to explore back in South Africa?

Learning is like building blocks and there should be a purpose for the concepts taught to learners. We should know why we teach the content we teach before the how. Hamlin has an extraordinary way of capturing this concept of education as a set of building blocks.

Learn more about Ms. Nanti’s visit in this video:

Interview with Hamlin Alumna and Teacher: Helen (Fowler) Ortiz ’03

Helen (Fowler) Ortiz graduated from The Hamlin School in 2003 and is now back with us teaching Kindergarten.

1) What are your favorite memories of Hamlin?

Outdoor Education (we sang songs to keep our morale up in the Yosemite sleet), cross-country skiing, Halloween (I loved making costumes), singing the song the Witches’ Brew, the 8th grade musical (Bye Bye Birdie), Famous American Women’s Tea, and Field Day, to name a few! My closest friends are my Hamlin friends, they are like family to me. Also, as a 7th grader I volunteered in a 1st grade classroom reading to the girls and playing games, that experience started me thinking about becoming a teacher. 

2) What is it like coming back to Hamlin as a teacher? 

It is exciting and inspiring, the longevity of the teachers is a testament to the Hamlin school community. Hamlin is a school that always strives to do more and a place where teachers help each other out. It is wonderful seeing all my old teachers: Ms. Aquino, Ms. Gustavson, Ms. Abbott, Ms. McDonald, Ms. Hillegas-Stommel, and Ms. Metcalf. I loved my Hamlin teachers.

3) How has San Francisco changed since you were a kid?

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