Look Who’s …
New” Teacher Outside the Classroom
Therese Hauer, a mother of four and a retired Alameda schoolteacher, says she’s “new” to town, as she has only lived in Alameda for 59 years.
You were a primary school teacher in Alameda for 24 years.
Teaching children was my passion and joy. What I learned after all my years of being in the classroom — no matter at what school I taught — is that children are children. They are all beautiful and special. And the truth is that I learned so much from them in so many ways. I still speak some Filipino and gained life lessons from them that I’ve never forgotten. It was an honor and a privilege to contribute to the lives and education of young kids.
Are you happy with what’s happening in the classrooms today?
I feel for the teachers today not having more time to be creative because they have to teach to the test. I wish music, art and creative writing could be more integrated into the curriculum. When a child understands the gifts he or she has through artistic expression, their gifts multiply, and it carries over to other subjects. It builds confidence and creates enthusiasm to be in the classroom for both the teacher and the child. And the climate of a classroom is such an important component to learning. A teacher’s daily mood makes a difference as does music and art. A positive, rich environment has the power to make a child’s life joyous and builds excitement about learning. I’d like to see more individual freedom of time given to teachers to be more creative with their little ones. That’s why most of us got into the profession to begin with.
Who is your favorite children’s author?
Definitely E. B. White. Every year I would read to my students E. B. White’s three books: Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan. And every year when I read the part about what it means to be a friend from Charlotte’s Web, I would cry. I didn’t mind letting the kids see me cry. I think it was good for them to see Mrs. Hauer as a real person. Seeing teachers as human is important, I think.
I bet you run into some of your former students all the time.
I do and I love it. Sometimes I can even remember where they sat in the classroom! But I also love running into the parents of the children I taught. I became very close to parents and still have a special bond with many of them. Those friendships, along with the gratification of teaching their children, really enriched my life. I still care about them all. I’ve been truly blessed.
What would you like to see happen in this town you’ve called home for so many years?
My husband, Harry, and I used to say that we’d love to see people here in Alameda do what the folks in Europe do and it’s quite simple. Say good morning to people you see on the street. It is wonderful way to start the day. It makes everyone feel good and is so easy. That small gesture creates a nice feeling, and can set the tone for the day. Just like in the classroom, it’s up to us to create a positive environment for ourselves. Alameda is so charming and wonderful; we need to hold on to its sweetness.