Hot Takes: Ms. Hodge

Hot Takes: Ms. Hodge

Norma Fruzynski (Sophomore)

In search of information regarding middle school behavior, we interviewed Obama Academy’s 6th grade math teacher, Ms. Hodge! We asked her questions about her experience, opinions, and lessons in teaching younger kids. In terms of her career, Ms. Hodge has been teaching for 24 years. She started out teaching in New Jersey before moving to Pittsburgh and working for 1 year at Greenway. Afterwards, she taught at various schools such as Frick and Reizenstein before finally moving to Obama. 

Throughout our interview, Ms. Hodge’s dedication to her students was apparent. When asked about the behavioral changes of middle school students after online school, she described difficulties many kids face readjusting to in-person learning . They have had trouble socializing, and have turned to technology as an outlet. This has proved to be problematic. Wide access to technology has allowed students to say or do things they shouldn’t. Ms. Hodge says that as a result of this, the school and teachers desperately need more support. She believes addressing the children’s needs is difficult when one counselor and one part time social worker are expected to take care of the entire middle school. Ms. Hodge said, “Some behavior can easily be corrected if we had a little more help and support in the building.” 

One of the many questions we had as high schoolers is, “what are the implications?” Ms. Hodge points out that, “students are able to misbehave without consequence.” She believes that our school hasn’t been able to take proper action in dealing with out of line students. In the hallway when kids are acting up, she has to decide what is more important, teaching her class or dealing with fighting students. 

One of the biggest issues noticed by Ms. Hodge is the increased use of profanity. While cursing is considered a low level infraction, it has no place in a school environment. Not only are kids using inappropriate language in the halls with friends, but towards teachers as well. Without proper discipline, the profanity level has grown and will continue to grow. 

When asked if high schoolers have any responsibility to take in struggling middle schoolers, Ms. Hodge says no, it is not our responsibility. She points out that a newly implemented high school-middle school mentoring program has given her hope that middle schoolers will eventually get the support they need. When referring to a few sophomores who helped her start a mentoring program, she said,“they see the need, they identify the problem, they’re solution based, and they want to try to help.” Seeing former students come back, watching them being successful, and doing great things gives Ms. Hodge hope. When asked what advice she had for students, she said, “take advantage of the time and the teachers and what they want to teach you, and allow them to teach you.”

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