“I talk about pretty frequently [about my 11th grade English teacher] because I I credit her with why I wanted to be a teacher.”


Ricardo Gonzalez

Ms. Cooke relaxing on the chair.

Interview audio

Katherine Cooke had many ideas for her career. She did not always wanted to be a teacher growing up because when she was small she wanted to be a pathologist then a actor but it turns out she worked in a book store. At the end she became a teacher after working at the book store. Not only she was the best teacher but she also exceeded her parents expectations.



Ricardo Gonzalez: Um good morning my name is Ricardo Gonzalez um I’m here to do a interview.
Katherine Cooke: Uh hello my name is Ms. Cooke, Katherine Cooke I am a six grade Read 180 and drama teacher at Animo Jefferson.
RG: Alright so the first question would be, “What did you think of me the first time we met?”
KC: Hmm i’m trying to remember you on the first day that I met you. I think I you were just kind of like it was a whole blur of a day that so many people I was meeting.But I think the first real memories that I have of you is thinking that you were really good student. That you were like pretty focus and that you were gonna try really hard in my class and um I really appreciated that about you.Um and I looked forward teaching you.I was excited to know you more and then I did get to know you more and then you started been the most helpful wonderful person in the world cause you would come in every morning we’d have a nice chat in the morning’s then you would help me put all the chairs down it was really I I really appreciated it.
RG: OK um, “What was something big that impacted your life?”
KC: There’s been so many things. Um I think probably the biggest impact on my life was when I had to stop dancing cause it kind of said everything in motion. I think um because it’s possible that if iv’e been able to keep dancing I that’s just what I would’ve done with with my life. Then I would have not been here teaching.Um the because I got so injured over and over again and the doctor told me that I couldn’t dance anymore um that got me more into sudden acting um and so then with acting I ended up going to New York University and I got a double major there and because I still loved English um and then from N.Y.U I kept acting but then didn’t love it as much as I thought maybe I would. So then I started working in the book store and then working in the book store I decided that it wasn’t enough.It wasn’t fulfilling um and I didn’t feel like I was really making a difference in the world.So then I started teaching um so I think that really if it weren’t for that that foot injury kind of thing happening were I couldn’t dance anymore nothing else in my life really would’ve happened.
RG: Relating back to the book store “what important thing or what would you believe actually you would be successful with when you actually work there?”
KC: Um so while I was working in the book store.I sort of had it in my brain that um it would be kind of like a library. I worked in libraries before and in some ways it was similar but the hours were terrible like I was working super late at night or super early in the morning. Um and I don’t mind really in the morning but late at night was really difficult for me. I am not a night owl and I don’t do well late at night um so I thought that I would work there for a while.I thought that I would make manager which I did kind of eventually and then I thought that eventually hopefully I would become general manager of the whole store that was kind of my my idea my dream um and who knows maybe I would’ve done it eventually but it ended up just been too draining in someways it felt pointless it felt like everyday I would go in and I would shelf books and then the customers would come in and maybe they would buy some of the books and then maybe they would take them off the shelf but not buy them.So I would have to shelf all of the books all over again um so it felt like I was on a trend mil just like moving but not going anywhere you know what I mean I was doing stuff but nothing mattered nothing that I did stayed.
RG: “Um what was one of the first few books that interested you on still reading them and actually help you with meager problems?”
KC: Oo that’s a very good question. Um I read series when I was younger um called Atalanta the Lioness I know it’s a fantasy book fantasy series written by Tamora Pierce. I highly recommend them um and I loved them because the main character I I really related to her. Um she didn’t want to be kind of the typical like girly girl and I certainly was not a typical girly girl. I was a tom boy when I was growing up. Um so I liked playing around outside and I liked dirt and swords and stuff like that. Um when some of my friends who were girls at the time were like super into barbies or pink and that kind of thing and that was not my type of thing.Um so this book sort of for me was a sign that I wasn’t like weird I mean I was weird but I wasn’t like wrong to enjoy different things um and overall this series is really nice because um it goes it’s it’s very like female empowerment uh which at the time in Minnesota was kind of necessary when desertification  for young girls in Minnesota was that they would go to like school and then they would get married and then have kids um but what this book really was is that this young girl like had uh a desire or wish to do something with her life and then she found a way to do it um and it’s really just a kind of growing up story for her.
RG: Um growing up in life in your feet fr- prospective way have you ever had someone important in you in your life that you lost?
KC: Yea um actually my 11 grade English teacher who I talk about pretty frequently because I I credit her with a lot of um why I wanted to be a teacher. And why I wanted to teach English she mad me really love English. I liked reading and writing before but she made me love the kind of work that you would do in a English class were you have discussions and stuff like that um she so she was a big influence on my life um I really appreciated everything that she done for me. Um and she passed away a couple years after I had her um and she and I’d still be in contact and everything and I would talk to her about everything. Um (it) didn’t matter what it was I would talk to her about everything.Um and I was devastated when I heard that she has passed away.Um devastated as very very very sad but I also then kind of used her memories to start me on this whole teaching journey.You know what I mean um every day when I walk in classroom or when I make a lesson plan or when I interact with a student I think about her again and and the influence she had on my life and what she did for me and that is my motivation for been here and for doing what I do in some ways um because I want be that person for you guys.
RG: Alright during this career that you have right now as a teacher who has helped you out the most?
KC: Oo loaded question! Um so many people honestly um my dad been one of them because he was a teacher so I’m always able to kind of talk to him about things and he’l talk to me about like what I can do better or what I can try next time and that sort of thing. He’s a lot of good advise um all of the other teachers here and I mean that all of them all of the other teachers here have been absolutely incredible to work with. Um we lesson plan together we talk about strategies together.I feel really supported um it it’s really incredible experience working here because I I think that everybody has helped me enormously at this school.
RG: Did you expect to be a teacher right now or did you expect to be something different?
KC: Depends when in my life you ask me that question.If you’d ask me when I was like 5 I would of said no I’m not going to be a teacher. I am going to be a paleontologist. Um if you’d ask me when I was like 11 I would have said that I was going to be a teacher but if you’d ask me when I was 15 I probably would have said that I was going to be a doctor um and then 18 I probably would have said that I was going to be a actor um so depending. I there been so many things in my life that I wanted to do um and I feel like I kind of bounced around so much because at the time nothing really felt right I think that I had to get to a certain age and a certain um mindset in order to feel like teaching was the right thing so know yea teaching is absolutely were I should be.
RG: Do you expect to have more student and teachers to help you out during this career?
KC: Oh yea absolutely I I think that everyone that I come into contact with student teacher you know anybody anybody I come into contact with that I have any interaction with is definitely helping me in this career even if they don’t know it even if there not like actively trying to help me um and that is because I learned something new from everybody that I interact with even if it’s a tine tiny thing um or if it’s a big thing for example I feel like my my 7th grade classes that I had last year um I think that you guys were really really important on teaching me patience um not that I didn’t have patience for anything before but um I feel like I got so much better at just relaxing in some ways and and sort of letting things be and happened the way that maybe they are suppose to um and and not not shying away from failure but going toward failure and learning from that failure um so I really have to thank you guys for that and I hope that I learn more from everybody that I meet from here and out i’m sure that I will.
RG: Um do you expect that your parents disappoint you –
KC: Oh yea!
RG: Do you believe they expect you you even though you have gone further that what they expected?
KC: Defiantly yea um my parents are hugely supportive and they they have been for my whole life. I’ve been really really fortunate lucky to have that um yea they they still support me um I talk to them everyday um you know they don’t live here I talk to them every day still um they don’t necessary always say it explicitly like they don’t Navarre or they’re never not never but it’s not always like your really doing a good job Katie or Ms. Cooke Katie to them your really good job Katie like were proud of you they don’t necessary say that but I know that they feel it because they will listen to me when i’m talking about my job and they’ll like engage in conversation with me and they’ll ask me questions  about what’s happening and stuff like that um and it’s it’s a really good thing it’s a nice thing.
RG: Hmm when I feel like this would be our last question?
KC: Alright!
RG: And it would be when we us 8th graders had you for the first time and you know well you knew how we felt like been in your class how would you feel when we leave this year.
KC: Oh i’m gonna be so sad and excited i’m excited for you guys because middle school is is just one small step a big step in some ways because you learn so much in middle school and you grow so much but it’s really a small step on the on the vast journey of your life um  so i’m excited for how you guys are all gonna go on to high school and then to college or whatever is that you want to do with your life career’s that sort of thing um family’s like whatever you do you’r so much ahead of you but I will be very very sad because I will still be here um and I’ll miss you guy’s but I think my excitement for you will out way my sadness for myself that does make sense um but I will be in graduation I will probably cry uh it will be great!
RG: Alright thank you for been in my interview Ms. Cooke.
KC: Thank you so much Ricardo thank you for choosing me!