By Dakota Bodell
Junior Dakota Bodell sat down with new math teacher Shoshana (Chief) O’Keefe. Here’s what she learned.
Dakota Bodell: What did you do before coming to Albany High School?
O’Keefe: Um, I stayed home with my kids. But before that I was a lawyer. And I also worked on the Obama campaign.
DB: How long have you been a teacher?
O’Keefe: I’ve been an official full teacher for about one month, but I was an almost teacher most of last year. But I started as a teacher intern in October of last year.
DB: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
O’Keefe: Because I realized that I really enjoy explaining math to people. I was explaining math to people all the time for fun and I realized that there was a way to get paid to do that. I was a really big hit at parties! Also, my son loves math and always asked me questions so I was teaching him a lot of math. That was very revealing to me on how much I enjoyed teaching math.
DB: What was your relationship with school as a child?
O’Keefe: I loved it. And I specifically liked high school.
O’Keefe: Um, it was just a really good time in my life. I had good friends, I enjoyed my classes, and I like the feeling of it. It was just really fun.
DB: What are some difficulties of becoming a new teacher?
O’Keefe: Um, well the beginning of the year has been pretty overwhelming. Learning names of over one hundred students. And not just their names, but their personalities, their quirks, their strengths and weaknesses.
DB: Their handwriting?
O’Keefe: That’s one of them, among many. And it’s a lot of information to get all at once and it’s really important to get that to be an effective teacher.
DB: How is Albany High School different than other schools you’ve gone to or taught at?
O’Keefe: Hmm... well I can only compare it to Berkeley High, since that’s where I went. It’s smaller and more well run than Berkeley High. Berkeley High in the 90s was not well run.
DB: What is something you love about Albany High? Something you dislike?
O’Keefe: Something I dislike? Hm. Well I love the diversity of the students, and not just ethnically, but just so many different people doing different things and different kids.
DB: A dislike?
O’Keefe: Awwh. Everything’s good.
DB: How does teaching upperclassmen differ from teaching underclassmen?
O’Keefe: Classroom management is a bigger deal with freshmen, they don’t naturally behave as well. They have more energy and are less disciplined. It’s a lot more work to get them to pay attention and listen. The juniors and seniors sit in their seats and do their work, for the most part.
DB: What do you wish students knew about you?
O’Keefe: How much I love math and how much I want them to love it too. And how much I love presidents.