“I guess my main goal in life is to make some kind of difference. That’s why I changed careers.”

Ms.Cooke a 6th grade English and drama teacher.

Evelyn Espinal

Ms.Cooke a 6th grade English and drama teacher.

interview audio (part 1)

Ms. Cooke is a teacher at Animo Jefferson Charter Middle School teaches sixth and seventh grade. She wants better for the world even by just making kids read and write a little more. She loves her last year’s kids and her kids this year as well and she loves working at Animo! She grew up dancing until she went through surgery because she had a extra bone in her foot and the doctors told her she had to stop dancing. Otherwise, she would have still been a professional Irish dancer.


Evelyn Espinal : Okay so I’m here with Ms.

Katherine Cooke : Hi I’m Ms.Cooke. I’m a sixth grade English and drama teacher at Animo Jefferson.


EE: Okay can you tell me a little bit about yourself?


KC: Sure I grew up in Minnesota I lived there until I was going into ninth grade and then my dad got a job in California here in Los Angeles so we ended up moving to LA in my freshman year of high school which was a pretty big move.  I was here for high school and after that I ended up going to New York University for college where I got my double major in theater acting and English literature. After that I worked in a bookstore for a while in the children’s department and then I decided I wanted to become a teacher so I started doing that and got my masters degree and here I am.


EE: What are some of your goals?


KC : Oooo big question  for right now. I don’t know. I guess my main goal in life is to make some kind of difference. That’s sort of always been my goal. That’s why I changed careers from being in a bookstore to actually doing something better for the world. That’s why I became a teacher, because I’d feel like I’d like to make a difference in people’s lives and I think that if I can make one kid read a little bit more or write a little bit more or allow someone to find something they really enjoy doing like acting for example then I’ve sort of achieved this but its a never ending goal sort of.


EE: What is one of your weaknesses?


KC: Ooo, I’m getting better at this I think but I typically am not, I don’t deal very well with failure when I was younger especially whenever I would mess up on something, usually academically, I would sort of give up right away. I’d be like I just can’t do it and it’s not worth trying again or its not worth learning from it and it’s still a struggle that I have. I’m really afraid of failure sometimes and that makes it hard to try new things and then if  I end up failing it’s tough to keep trying whatever it was that I failed at, you know, but I am getting better and I’m  learning to keep trying. I’m trying to overcome that challenge.


EE: What is your biggest fear?


KC:Failure [laughs]. I guess also just having a life that is meaningless. I don’t want, as a big thing for me as you can tell, I don’t want to go get at the end of my life and have a bunch of regrets or feel like I didn’t do anything, you know, and I guess a much more mundane fear is just I would be afraid of my sister getting hurt or something like that I’m not afraid of the dark or anything like though.


EE: What are you most proud of so far?

KC:Wow, I think I’m most proud of the progress that I’ve made with sort of overcoming the weakness that I have because I am getting better and  I am learning to accept failure and to learn from it and move on from it so I’m pretty proud of that I’m proud of working here. I’m proud of the students I had last year and the students I have this year.  Yeah I think I think the work that I’ve done here is what I’ve been most proud here so far.



EE: Can you tell me three interesting facts about you?


KC: Yes [both laughs] I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere in Minnesota. We lived on a farm and we had five horses and so I spent most of my time running around outside. I was a professional in performing competing in Irish dancer for ten years until I had to have foot surgery because I had an extra bone in my foot and I kept getting injured so the doctor told me I couldn’t dance anymore three fun fact ,oh I just had one where did it go i guess a third fun fact my dad was my principal for eight years for all my middle school and high school.  I  had middle school for four years you guys only had three but I had four I  don’t know if its a fun fact but it’s definitely weird 


EE: It is, best and worst thing about getting older?


KC: Oh my god, best thing about getting older is that you can kind of choose what you can do with your life. In some ways it’s not like you can drop everything and decide you’re gonna do something. There’s a lot more freedom when you’re older than when you’re younger. Like I chose what to study in college. I chose what job I wanted to have and then I made a different choice like I get to choose what I eat [laughs], those types of things. There’s more choices. I think the worst thing about getting older is all your joints start to hurt everything starts to hurt always [laughs].


EE: Why did you choose to apply to this school?


KC: I was interested in the first place because it was teaching English and drama which is what I went to college for and I really love those things so to get to teach both of them was a dream come true really and then the real reason why I wanted to work here is actually when I came here for my demo lesson over the summer, not last summer but the summer before, I couldn’t figure out how to get into the school so I was outside for probably three to five minutes because I didn’t figure how to open the doors but I was too chicken anyways and then there was a student Eric, he was outside, he saw me wandering around and eventually asked if I needed help and I was like yeah and he helped me get in the school and he was actually sweet and fun to talk to and then once I was in kinda in the patio area over there, there were other kids outside and they said hi to me and I’m just a random person but they were so nice and I taught the bridge kids and they were hilarious and incredible to work with and that’s really what wanted me to work here.