2018 Blackboard Award Honoree: Hope Friend

Hope Friend

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2018 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE!

Hope Friend
Grade 6, Language Arts
Isaac Newton Middle School for
Math and Science

Tell us about some of the special joys and challenges you’ve experienced as
a teacher.

It brings me great joy to share my passion for literature with my students. It is often a challenge to instill a love of reading in students who may not have previously experienced the pleasure of embarking on a literary journey or who lack the skills to read fluently and enjoy a book on their own. It is
delightful to see students beg for a chance to portray a literary character and spill into the hall talking about the literature we are exploring in class.

Please share a special project or achievement that you are particularly proud of from this year.

In the fall, my grade 6 ELA students read a novel featuring a main character with a physical disability. Students laughed (and wept openly) at the triumphs and frustrations facing the protagonist of this honest book. As a culminating activity for this unit, we invited Sarah Kim, a Barnard College student with Cerebral Palsy, to come and meet the students. Eighty-five sixth-graders listened with rapt attention as our guest shared the details and struggles of her personal and academic life.

Hope Friend with president of Family Media Jonathan Moore. Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein.

What keeps you motivated and committed to being a dedicated and hard-working educator?

After more than 30 years as a middle school teacher, I am still excited to return to school each September. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to open one surprise package after another, because each new student is a gift. It is these same unique characteristics that motivate me to clarify a complex topic, to try new methods and materials, and to motivate students to understand curriculum and help apply it to real life.

What do you love about your school?

It is a privilege for me to be part of the Isaac Newton Middle School community! I love the fact that the classroom experience at INMS feeds and fosters the imagination, intellect, and creativity of all students to strengthen their readiness for the demands of the 21st Century. Of course, great schools cannot exist without great groups of kids, and the students at INMS are truly here to discover, grow, and experience life.