Alumna Uses MSU Education to Excel as an Educator

Woman in a green cap and gown standing outside next to Sparty

While the pandemic has been a trial by fire for most, Social Studies and Science teacher and MSU Spanish alumna Hannah Kahn smoothly adapted to the new norm of remote learning this past spring, even though it was only her first year teaching.

Prior experience with online learning helped Kahn tremendously. Because of platforms such as Summit Learning, she was able to organize PowerPoint slides and put together videos for her classes.

“We were able to meet with students via Hangouts one-on-one and present a screen to write notes on what to edit on assignments. We were able to talk through difficult questions on tests, and much more,” she said. “I don’t think I would do anything differently. We were very prepared even though we had no idea we needed to be.

Woman in jeans and a t-shirt holding up a sign that welcomes 7th/8th grade students to their first day of school.
Hannah Kahn at her first day of teaching

Thanks to her strong Spanish-speaking skills, Kahn was able to effectively communicate with the large Latinx student population at her middle school, CICS-Prairie, which is located on Chicago’s south side.

“My Spanish education has helped me communicate well with families of students who are exclusively Spanish speaking, especially during conferences and e-mails asking questions about students’ progress,” Kahn said.

Kahn’s journey with the Spanish language has always been rooted in education. While studying at MSU, she took a study abroad trip to Valencia, Spain, where she combined her love for teaching with her passion for Spanish.

Woman in a green cap and gown standing outside next to Sparty
Hannah Kahn

“I was able to experience and understand Spanish culture so much, as well as practice speaking with the teachers and host family,” she said. “I was even able to volunteer in a high school there, which was a really great experience.”

Kahn is now working on completing her master’s degree in Secondary Education for Social Studies. She also plans on expanding her skills by earning endorsements in bilingualism and teaching English as a second language.

“In order to become bilingual certified, I will be practicing my conversational Spanish a lot in the coming year,” she said.

Hannah Kahn in sunglasses sitting on a dock next to the water.
Hannah Kahn

This past summer, Kahn continued to work with kids. She worked as a Unit Head for the JCC Elaine Frank Apachi Day Camp, where she oversaw other counselors, planned activities for the kids, and more.

Although she has only taught for one year, Kahn gives this advice to other teachers and those interested in education: “make sure you feel good about what you are doing.”

“Teaching can be trying, but I know that I am connecting with and reaching students each day,” she said. “Even if you can’t see you are making a difference now, you still are!”

Written by Alec Parr