“When we were growing up I was always taking care of her and I taught her how to write her name and how to tie her shoes.”

When we were growing up I was always taking care of her and I taught her how to write her name and how to tie her shoes.
Ms. Cooke was influenced by multiple things like people and books.
Ms. Cooke tells a part of life when was influenced by many people in her life. Some examples were her family such as her sister, mother and father.
She even mentions her teacher from high school who was strict but helpful to her and that is what she wants to do with her students. Now that she looks back, her teacher was someone who impacted her and she wants to bring her teacher’s expectations and encouragement to her students, but she wants to be slightly stricter and more positive.
She speaks of how books like the Lord Of The Rings have impacted her and other books that have actually have made her the person she is now.



Katherine Cooke:     My name is Katherine Cooke. I am a middle school English teacher, I teach 6th grade Read 180 and Drama this year. 
 Evelyn R. Francisco:      My name is Evelyn Francisco and I’m going to interview Ms.Cooke. One question I have for you is who has influenced  you to become the person you are now?
KC:       Ooh that’s a good question. Um, I would say I have many influences in my life. Uh, most of them are my family but there’s been a couple of teachers who have influenced me as well. Um, my sister really is the person who influenced me to be a teacher in the first place because she’s younger than me by three years. When we were growing up I was always taking care of her and I taught her how to write her name and I taught her how to tie her shoes. So some of my earliest  experiences of being a teacher is with my sister. She’s really influenced me to be the person I am today and to be protective and stuff like that. My parents have also been a big influence on me, obviously. For the most part that’s like for everybody. But like my mom is really always organized and really always focused and likes to do the best of what she can do and I really look up to her and try to do my best. And my dad was a teacher for my whole life has been a teacher for my whole life so he was kinda like the other major family influence that made me wanna be a teacher. Because he was always looking like if he was having so much fun even though on the days that weren’t super fun for him, I think. He still had a good time. The main teacher that influenced me to be the person I am today was my eleventh grade teacher, Ms.Creese. Um, she was the most difficult teacher I have ever had in my life but she was really, really smart. And expected so much of me that it made me … do better work and do more work and try my hardest. And harder  than I thought I could work.  And try my hardest and harder than I thought I could really work. Um, for the entire eleventh grade year, um, so I kinda wanted to be that sort of teacher for my students but be a little bit more caring than she was sometimes.
EF:     Tell me one example of when your teacher helped you.
KC:        I actually remember  I had to remember an essay on the scarlet letter, which is a book that  you guys would probably read when you get to high school, maybe, hopefully.I  love that book. A lot of people hate it but I really enjoyed it.I was writing a paper on flowers symbolism in the book and I was really struggling with it. And I turned in a rough draft and there was  a ton wrong with it I got the rough draft back from her and there was like – red pen all over the thing. And I was like, oh gosh what am I going to do? Like how do I even begin to fix this? So I went in to her office hours actually and I was like, help. [laughs] and she spent her entire time with me, and she didn’t have to spend the whole time with me, but she did spend all the time with me.  but she did and she spent the entire time with me telling how to integrate quotes and have a stronger thesis and all of these things. Um, they kinda made me into the king of writer I am today. And I really  appreciated that today.
 EF: Besides people who else- what else had  influenced you, like something that you’ve watched or read.
 KC: Ah, that’s a really good question as well um, I  grew up reading like every single day and both my parents like to read so that kind of helped me to love to read as well. There was a book all over the house and they were always trying to find the next book  that I would enjoy reading. Um,So I would say that having that opportunity to read all the books that I’ve read have really influenced me as well. Um, because I’ve read a lot of good books when I was younger and um that  kinda developed my love to go to college for english because I still love it. And I want to help other people love reading and writing as much as I have. For example I read “Lord Of The Rings “when I was very little. I think I was like 11,10…no I was younger than that.I don’t know-but I was very very young when I read it. And so much about “Lord of the Rings” is sort of independence and gong out in adventure and exploring your life and the life of others and being tolerant of others and I think that has influenced em-the kind of person I am today as well…I like to find new things.I like to come in contact with people who are different from me, um, and I like to learn about them and I have a greater to the appearance of difference for  others. And I owe that to I think “Lord of the Rings.” 
EF: What is one thing  learned from the books and people that have made you bring bak to other people? To show to people?
 KC: One of the things I love from reading  is that for me it’s always been very imaginative and very creative um, that’s part of why I double-majored in theater and English in college is  because I have always loved college and always will. And I also had this love of creativity. I’m terrible at visual arts,I can not draw and paint.I have tried millions of times  and it’s been disastrous every time.My sister got all of those artistic genes- but I loved to dance , I loved theater and I think that creative, imaginative size of reading that really brought that out to me in the first place. When You get into a book,I mean for me, it is honestly like being transported into another world.I see the things happening in the book when  read it and I can see it in my brain um,And I think that part of being in theater is because it felt to me that I could show people what I was seeing in my brain when I was reading.And that’s why I did some like acting and that kind of stuff because it was my way of showing what was in my brain. Um, yeah, so I think that was a pretty big part of my life that books brought to me. 
 EF:When was one time that you shared your influences with somebody else?
KC: Um…Ah,[sigh, pause] I mean a lot of the times  for like, I actually wrote about my influences when I was going into college um, that was part of the college application process. They ask you about things  that have influenced your life and so I talked about books,I talked about dance, um and that sort of parents. And creativity and my parents and my sister. Um, it’s good to think about the things that have influenced you because you don’t know why you will need it for college applications, job and stuff like that. And thinking about that ,your influences can also be really good for you to make sure you are being true to those influences . Um, if you feel like if you are going down the wrong path think about again what influenced  you in the first place and it will help you find the core of who you are. And you can move past that rough patch.
 EF: If you hadn’t read, what would you think-what path would have taken?
KC: Oh gosh, um,I don’t know  honestly.Probably not a good one [laughs] I was kinda forced to be a little bit of a goody-two shoes..always following the rules because my dad was my principal for most of my life  um, fun fact for those who didn’t know that already. My dad was my principal, for my middle school was four years instead like three how you guys have so he was my principal for four years of middle school and four years of high school.So eight years where I had to follow the rules or I got into big trouble. But I think if I hadn’t had books I would have been  very, very bored and very lonely.And I think I would have acted out in a lot of ways because books gave me a place um, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the library.I spent a lot of time in the library and I helped the librarians, which is super nerdy, I know. But I think in many ways it saved me because it gave me a place to belong which everybody needs. 
 EF: Even though you can’t do arts, do you still like it?
KC: Oh, I love art, yeah. [laughs] Um, it’s one of the things I regret most about my life is that I have zero artistic talent[laughs]. I really envy people who have that artistic vision who can make things come to life in the canvas because I do have such vivid images in my head usually like if I’m reading for example. I want to draw what I’m drawing and I just cant because Im just so bad at drawing. Um, so bad.My sister has absolutely the ability to draw and I’m really jealous of it.She , like I remember when she was much  younger, she would have dreams about things or people. And she would wake up the next day she would just draw it and it was just amazing looking.And it was that window into her mind that she was able to show people. Like she was able to show people what was in her brain on a piece of paper. And because I couldn’t draw or paint, I started doing that kind of though dance and acting. But I love the visual arts. I go to museums all the time , I went all the time in New York. Like it was my favorite thing.
EF: If you envy the people why do you still keep the things that they do?
KC: Oooh, um because my appreciation and love of the beauty of their art is greater than my jealousy of their ability.
 EF: Why did you decide to do theater instead of just skipping on to that and just moving on something better that you could have done?
KC: That’s a very good question as well. I actually started doing theater because I couldn’t dance anymore. I was a dancer first and foremost. I loved dance.And I danced for many many years, um then I had so many injuries in a row that the doctor told me I couldn’t dance anymore because if I kept trying to dance past then chances were I wouldn’t be able to walk by the time I was the age I am now. Old. Super old. So when I lost dance, I was devastated, I cried I was really angry was very sad because again that was my way of showing what was in my head to people who were outside of who I am. But then thankfully I was at a school that had a theater program, a theater company, theater program. And I like doing drama in the past I had drama in elementary school and stuff like that. And I really enjoyed it and I..um, but  I wasn’t as dedicated to it as I was to dance . So I went back to drama because it was a thing that I could do still..it was artistic and similar to dance in some ways.That had the use of space and was showing people what was in my head.But wouldn’t hurt me.When I went back to it, I kind of rediscovered and appreciated what it could do for me and for the people around me
 EF: What was one piece of art that your really did like most?
KC: Van Go, Vincent Van Go has a – many people like his sunflowers or  his self portrait, you know that kind of fighting or starry night.And those are all wonderful, they are beautiful paintings but I actually prefer, his wheat field with cypress painting. And it’s this big grassy field , golden grassy field and there are these green  cypress trees kind of in the middle of it. And I used to go to the museum, the metropolitan museum of art in New York all the time and just sit and look at that painting for hours and hours because I felt that it that it was such a freeing feeling almost looking at it.It was so kind of empty looking as a landscape . Um, but it was very beautiful and it reminded me of my home in Minnesota a little bit. We don’t have cypress trees over there but we have a lot of fields.
 EF: SO in all what you are saying is that art is what influenced you the most ,things that you couldn’t do?But you still love it enough to keep on and teach it to other people?
KC: Yeah, actually. Thats a really good way of putting that um,I’ve never thought to that .Art really did play a big part of my life even though I can not create art necessarily. It taught me how to love something and continue to try to do something even though I couldn’t learn it. And that just because I couldn’t do it didn’t mean that it was bad. IT was because I failed every once in awhile it wasn’t a bad thing. It was a learning experience and it didn’t mean that the thing itself  was wrong or that I was wrong at doing it.I don’t know if that makes any sense..[laughs].
EF: I think thats all.Thank you for talking with me.
 KC: Thank you it was very fun.