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Class Acts

Teachers and staff from Oakhill Day School talk about what they love about their jobs

Shelby Robinson 

Middle School Social Studies Teacher

What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is the people and environment at Oakhill! It is a close-knit group of teachers and students who are excited to learn and work together daily. I also love the freedom for creativity that Oakhill provides. My job is not scripted and I have a say and choice in how I get to teach the curriculum to my students. These things make me love my job and enjoy coming to work every day! 

What is the biggest challenge that educators face? I think the biggest challenge for educators is that the job is never really done. Yes, we may report from 8-4, but there is so much more that goes into teaching! 

Describe a favorite memory from Oakhill. My favorite memory from Oakhill was the final day before Thanksgiving break. Some students and teachers went outside to play Flag Football, and the rest of us stayed inside and played Bunco! It was so much fun to be able to relax and play a game with the kiddos! 

Melaina Hagan 

Toddler Teacher

What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part about teaching toddlers is seeing their eyes light up when they start to understand a new concept.  I love all the joy and happiness my students bring to the classroom.

What do you think is the most important role of educators these days? As an educator it is important to provide a safe place for the students to learn and grow and simply be themselves. 

Describe a favorite memory from Oakhill. I have absolutely loved being a part of the Oakhill community.  My favorite memory so far was the school carnival at the beginning of the year.  It was such an amazing way to kick off the school year in a positive way!

What do you love about the Northland? The Northland is home to me! I love that I get to raise my children in the same neighborhood I grew up in.  I love exploring different parks, coffee shops, and local restaurants with my family!

Maggie Newhouse     

Director of Student Affairs

What is your favorite part of your job? Building relationships with students. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks, but then you take a step back you realize that the relationships you have built are strong. I love seeing our alumni come back to visit because they have such a wonderful perspective of their time at Oakhill. They have been able to step back and see how special their experience was when they attended Oakhill.

What is the biggest challenge that educators face? Information overload. Students can find any information they want to know. It doesn’t have to come from a textbook or the teacher like it did 20 years ago. Helping students wade through information while keeping on it as teachers is difficult.

Describe a favorite memory from Oakhill: I love taking students on overnight trips. We have traveled to the Florida Keys, Badlands, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas and the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS. The students grow so much on every trip in ways you would never expect and the experiences stick with them. They remember the trips for years to come and it can be life-changing for some. For example, students who attend the Florida Keys trip have become very interested in marine biology and take that on as a major in college.

Tim Ziegler

Director of Early Childhood & Lower School Education

What is your favorite part of your job? I love seeing students achieve their goals, whether it be academically, behaviorally, or athletically.  Seeing them meet measurable goals is really fun, and I love seeing the look of satisfaction on their face. 

What do you think is the most important role of educators these days? I think the most important role of educators today is to create a safe, positive, and inviting classroom atmosphere for their students. Everything else comes second. A loving and positive teacher outweighs an academically sound teacher, although a mixture of those traits is ideal! 

What is the biggest challenge that educators face? I think the biggest challenge educators face today is wearing all the necessary hats to meet the needs of students today. Teachers are not only teachers. We are parents, counselors, nurses, and protectors as well. There was a time when teachers were just tasked with teaching the material. That is not the case anymore, and a significant amount of energy is asked from teachers on a daily basis.

Describe a favorite memory from Oakhill. My favorite memory of Oakhill is the last day before winter break.  The whole day is dedicated to celebrating the holidays, with an all-school assembly in the morning involving Santa, followed by parties in the afternoon.  It is so neat to see students in a less educational setting.  It’s also fun to see the teachers having just as much fun as the students!

What do you love about the Northland? The thing I love best about the Northland is the general friendliness of people, as well as all the family-friendly activities. Midwestern vibes are strong in the Northland, and there is no shortage of fun things to do with my kids! 

Jodi Egbert    

1st Grade Teacher

What is your favorite part of your job? The best part of my job is helping kids learn! I am so lucky to be in education!  My students bring humor, challenges and meaning to my life every day. There is no better feeling in the world than watching a student go from barely reading to being a confident, independent reader and feeling like you played a huge role in making that happen for them. I also love the honesty of 1st graders! The good, the bad, and the sweet…they give it to you straight. There is never a dull moment in 1st grade!

What do you think is the most important role of educators these days? I feel like the most important role for educators today is to teach the whole child. We have to meet their individual educational needs right where they are, but we also need to be a trusted adult, a motivator, a role model and someone to teach them life skills.

What is the biggest challenge that educators face? Honestly, it is burnout. I am lucky to work in a school that I love and where I feel challenged, supported and encouraged by everyone I work with. We have an amazing team that works together to support all of the students…not just the ones in our classroom. It isn’t competitive. We all genuinely love and care for each other. I know that this is not the case at all schools. Teachers feel stretched beyond their limits, unsupported mentally and monetarily, and teacher creativity is sucked out of the classroom when everyone has to be on the same page of the same chapter every day regardless of student needs. It is not that way at Oakhill. I feel the freedom to be me — to be creative and to have fun with my students. It is a real blessing that most teachers aren’t getting to experience right now.

"I love seeing our alumni come back to visit because they have such a wonderful perspective of their time at Oakhill." - Maggie Newhouse

  • Oakhill Day School
  • Jodi Egbert
  • Maggie Newhouse
  • Melaina Hagan
  • Shelby Robinson
  • Tim Ziegler

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