Hill says she is driven by the belief that educated people make a difference, and she teaches her students that they can make a change in the world. Her English classes are about more than big ideas; she says they use the material to evaluate and discuss the world in a thoughtful way.
“Every student, whether they want to be a welder or an accountant or an English professor, benefits from taking English classes, because a good English class is about learning to think critically about the world around you,” said Hill.
Hill adds that the problem-solving and critical thinking skills students practice in her class will be invaluable throughout their higher education, in workplace interactions, when starting a family, and as they become productive citizens.
“If I want to have effective conversations with my students about issues that are not only affecting them, but important to them as well, then I need to be informed on politics, art, science, and social media movements,” Hill said. “Because of that, there’s never a moment when I’m not looking for new material to use in my classroom.”
The end of each year is a time for Hill and her students to reflect on their journey together. Using her students’ feedback, and summer courses at UA, Hill spends the summer months updating her lesson plan for the coming year. However, she says no number of classes and certifications can compare to the lessons learned in the classroom.
“There’s a lot of heartache and worry and sleepless nights and time away from our families that goes into what we do, but we pour into our students because we love them, and we are really trying our best to equip them with the tools they need to succeed,” Hill said.
After only eight years of teaching, the tough moments that every new teacher faces are still recent memories for Hill. Her advice for people who want to become teachers is to always keep going. When you see your students’ progress, your hard work will be worth it.
Hill credits the leadership at ACA for encouraging her to keep going and be the best teacher she can be. She tries to mirror in her own classroom the consistency and support she gets from the administration and the teachers around her.
“Teachers live their lives in front of a constant audience, so the responsibility to act as a positive role model can’t be understated,” Hill said. “We teach so much more than just our subject content: we show what kindness looks like, what grace looks like, what responsibility and consequences look like.”