New faces can sometimes be a source of concern for students, but how worried can you be of someone who is always smiling? Kaiser welcomes the school year with a new teacher, Emma Holland.
Holland teaches a variety of subjects at Kaiser. She believes that “everyone has the ability to learn and achieve,” and teaches in a way that adapts to her students’ needs, both in style and curriculum. “Some people are really hands-on when it comes to learning, and some are very visual learners,” Holland said. She enjoys being able to diversify how she teaches and switch up the way she does it. “It helps to meet more of the student’s levels of understanding at the same time, and it’s rewarding to see so many of them successful,” she said. “It’s also way less of a headache than trying to teach the same thing over and over again.”
Because of her teaching philosophy, she conducts her classes on weekly progress and then progress for the month. “It’s a lot of adaptation, both to the students and the schedule,” Holland said. She knows that every student has the capacity to achieve at a high level and enjoys connecting with them and seeing them open up. “There’s this boy, he won’t say a word but he’s the fastest typer I’ve ever seen,” she said. “You could ask him one question and he’ll already have a whole page typed out.” Her favorite part about teaching students is seeing them become independent. She sees their growing independence as an indication that she’s preparing them well for life after high school.
Even before teaching, Holland knew that connecting with people was the most important part of the job. “I think it’s so rewarding to work in a career where you have the ability to help others,” she said. “I felt if I was always trying to spend each day helping others in a job, I’d be able to look at it less like a job and always feel passionate for it.”
Holland started her career 10 years ago as a nursing student in Marshall University, West Virginia. One of her friends – who was studying to become a teacher at the time – told Holland, ‘I could absolutely see you as a teacher.” Holland heeded her comment and decided to give it a shot. “I had a free semester so I decided to teach classes at Huntington and Marshall University, fell in love with it, and never looked back,” she said. Holland immediately found work after graduation, teaching students in special education in elementary and high school for four years in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Shortly thereafter, Holland moved to Hawai’i. She had visited the islands previously, during summer breaks, and enjoyed the variety of outdoor activities. She found out through Kaiser’s website that the school was offering teaching positions and decided this summer to live and work here. “I really enjoy running, hiking, snorkeling, hanging out with my friends, so to live somewhere where there’s a beach right next to a hiking trail is amazing.” She also enjoys reading and communicating with her family back in Pennsylvania. She misses them, but enjoys the company of everyone around her.
Holland looks forward to working with other teachers and students to help them reach their goals. “It’s a last stop before [students] go into the world,” she said, “I want to make sure they’re ready for life.”