Meet your Colleagues: Hayley in San Francisco (Day School)

Name: Hayley Gommel
Site: San Francisco Day School
School attending: Northern Illinois University
Returning teacher? New Teacher
Class(es) teaching:
Math, and a music elective


A year ago I adopted a philosophy of teaching: seek first to understand. I grew up in rural Maine, spent last summer teaching on the South Side of Chicago and will soon be experiencing the West Coast for the first time. As a pre-service teacher my expectation is that I will learn far more than my students. At the end of the summer, when I am packing up my classroom, I will be thanking them for helping me understand their lives, their families, their thoughts, their dreams and their America. My fears, however, are a little less poetic. If I give them fly swatters will we all become bugs? Will I forget how to do long division like I did in the middle of class last summer? (oops, I failed to mention that in my interview) Will the entire class, at once, realize that they could mutiny? How many rounds of ‘why’ can I successfully complete? Teaching is a job of many talents…

My official hopes include getting through my entire curriculum, not forgetting long division, no riots, submitting all lesson plans on time and if someone randomly walks in my room – work is in progress! My deeper hopes are that the students learn to trust me, that I can teach them something beyond math, that they leave the summer with more than they came and that they find or develop their passion for learning. Teaching is truly a job of many talents.


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