Talk to Emily Hill for just a few minutes, and it’s easy to get the idea that there’s a lot more going on in her classroom than simply making sure subjects and verbs always agree.
“My curriculum has evolved so much,” says Hill, an English and reading teacher at Clear Lake Middle School. “I do a lot of projects with the social studies teacher.”
A Ventura native, Hill earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and secondary education from Loras College in Dubuque. She then taught for two years at Newman Catholic School in Mason City before coming to Clear Lake in 2005.
That “evolving curriculum” is one that encourages her eighth grade students to be a greater part of their community at large. Hill and social studies teacher Angela Faber teamed up last school year to create the Make A Positive Difference in North Iowa project.
“We talked about ways that they can make a positive difference,” Hill explains. “We had a lot of good projects that came out it.”
For example, one student approached city leaders and helped create a program whereby life preservers were put up in various locations around the lake. Students also researched a bike rental program, and were later excited to see one get started in the community.
The Making a Difference program will likely resume this year, after the November General Election.
Hill enjoys “making a difference” herself, and particularly enjoys her coaching duties as a way to get to know students even better. She coaches junior varsity volleyball and basketball and while it can be time consuming, enjoys that time away from the classroom with students.
“You form a closer bond with those girls,” Hill says. “I like being a good role model for the girls, and I try to make a positive difference in their lives; teach them some lessons that I’ve learned along the way.”
Another important aspect to her teaching profession is the relationship with parents. Thankfully, she finds the Clear Lake community a place where parents and teachers work very well together.
“I think the people are fun here,” Hill says. “The interaction that parents have with teachers is great. They’re really supportive of is, which makes it nice to be in a community like that,” she concludes.