Humans of Laker Nation: Mrs. Hrycaj

Natalie Jablonksi

“I have two big dreams that I want to accomplish in my life. One is I want to be able to travel the world with my son and my husband and introduce my son to different cultures and show him different people and places and how they work. My goal would be all seven continents. My second dream is that I want to be able to work in a university setting at some point in my career to bring more awareness to physics education and get more teachers who want to teach physics. 

Mrs. H. is the sole physics teacher at WBHS. Here she stands in her classroom, located on the athletic side of the building.

I’ve been to Australia and Europe, so I would want to go to the places that I have already traveled to. Europe has so much to see there and if you go five miles one way it’s a totally different world. Europe is the one that I want to see the most but I want to see them all. I have always met local people and hung out with them and they show me what they do and where they go. I think that meeting people who are from the area and being able to learn from them rather than doing just the touristy things is important. Also seeing the seven wonders of the world would be pretty cool.

 

When I got my degree, I had one class that was about teaching physics and all the other ones were about physics and content. There needs to be more focus on physics education, so teachers are prepared to teach it. Realistically, I’d like to work at Oakland University because I live in Rochester. Dream-wise, I would love to have the opportunity to go teach in a university somewhere in Europe to be able to spend a semester or a year abroad. 

As her Honors Physics students tested their rockets, Mrs. H. helped make adjustments and offer solutions to difficulties teams were having.

I think it’s really important to get out of the bubble that you live in. For example, I did my student teaching in Australia because I wanted to learn how other countries value education and how their education systems work. I think that there’s a lot of progress that can happen in learning from other people and how other people do things. In teaching specifically in Australia, even at a high school level, they have what’s called ‘morning tea.’ In the US you only have recess at an elementary level but at the high school level, they had this break between when you got to school and lunch. You got to hang out outside with your friends and have a snack in the cafeteria. The teachers got that as a break as well. We would all go into the staff lounge and hang out and it was just really cool. It felt more like a community rather than something that you’re required to do every day. 

Mrs. H. has many pictures of family and friends posted in her room, including one of her, her husband, and her son.

In terms of education, they track their students. For example, I taught a class that was nine one which was ninth-grade level one and they go all the way to level seven. Level one was your AP/honors students and then seven would be like all of your students who needed extra support. Typically students don’t really get to change their level, so if you’re at nine one as a freshman, you typically move to ten one. There wasn’t much room for improvement for those lower levels, which I didn’t necessarily like. I like teaching all levels of students and having more levels of students in your class makes it more diverse.”