A new life at a new school

By: Steven Brooks Herring (Sophomore)

Madeline Kobayashi works here at Senn high school and before her two years here she was at Rodgers Middle School. She has a husband and two sons son. Ms. Kobayashi likes to read and listen to classic music during her free time.

Steven: Could you tell me how it was teaching at Rogers?

Ms.Kobayashi: It was wonderful teaching at Rogers I spent 7 years there I taught 7th and 8th grade, reading and writing and the last couple of years I was there I just taught mostly 8th grade. I only had one 7th grade class and it was really wonderful I loved being there it was like a little, very close community it was like a family.

Steven: So did you feel like you were leaving family when switching to Senn?

Ms.Kobayashi: Absolutely, yeah I felt like I was leaving family I felt like I was abandoning them when I decided to come here to Senn. I felt really guilty especially since most of my students were in 7th grade and I was supposed to be their 8th grade teacher, so then after I left I felt like I was kind of you know letting them down and leaving them hanging so yeah that was really hard.

Steven: So what was it like transitioning from elementary school to high school?

Ms.Kobayashi: It was rough. I thought it was going to be way different then it was. I thought freshman were going to be different than 8th graders because they are in high school, and what I learned was that freshmen are going thru such a huge transition too that their struggling a lot. And so I had to change a lot of my plans and teaching, and so it was kind of like we were struggling together and figuring it out together, it was very emotional but I got emotionally connected to all of my students and I don’t even feel that connection this year with my freshman, but my freshman last year we were a tight family.

Steven: How did this change your life?

Ms.Kobayashi: It challenged me in a huge way I thought I was a good teacher until last year….It showed me to be humble and showed me that I still have a lot to learn.

Steven: Could you tell me what your first year of teaching [at Senn] was like?

Ms.Kobayashi: Wild, it was stressful it was scary, I didn’t have confidence. It was a really hard transition, I finally settled down and felt like myself in May, so it took me almost the whole year to figure things out and feel comfortable now I like it, I ended up loving my freshman I think I ended up crying that last week of school because I felt like we had bonded because of the struggle and now their leaving.

Steven: So who helped you feel welcomed when you came to Senn?

Ms.Kobayashi: Mr.Cullinane, He was right across the hall from me and so I went to him for everything and he was always so nice and would answer all my questions and when I was absent and sick he would look after my classes, he was the biggest support system and Mr. Escamilla he helped me a lot too.

Steven: Was it hard staying to yourself and also trying to figure out who the teachers were?

Ms:Kobayashi: One of the things that actually made it really hard, harder than I expected, was not knowing anyone, not knowing their names, not feeling comfortable enough to ask questions so that was really,really hard figuring that stuff out.

Steven: How did you feel about coming to Senn and how do you feel now?

Ms.Kobayashi: I was nervous and anxious and stressed out and now I’m very comfortable, I’m not afraid I don’t get nervous and I don’t get the butterflies. 

Steven: One word of advice you would give to an incoming teacher coming to Senn?

Ms.Kobayashi: Listen to the kids, don’t fight with them, don’t battle them.The kids know what works for them and we have to listen to them.

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