The Life of Ms. Hoa


Madeline Johnson, Staff Writer

Did you know Ms. Hoa once wanted to be an ice cream truck driver?  Did you know her favorite color is maroon? Or that she used to work in Canada?

Ms. Hoa teaches Humanities. She loves to read and to go bouldering, which is rock climbing in a gym without the harness. I was interested in learning more about her life because I wanted to know about her past life before she came to be a teacher at HGMS and I wanted to know how she became a teacher here.

Ms. Hoa was born in California but was raised in Florida and Connecticut.  She has lived in 5 places, including New York City. “Stockton, California. Bridgeford, Connecticut, Orlando, Florida.  Oakville, Ontario. … so New York as well,” she said. “It was a lot of moving around, it was a little hard to make friends because I didn’t stay at a place for too long.”

Ms. Hoa wanted to be an ice cream truck driver when she was little for a really funny reason. “I wanted to eat all the ice cream in the truck,” she said. 

She also wanted to be a teacher, which was a successful pursuit.

“I’ve also always wanted to be a teacher.  My dad used to be a teacher. And I’ve worked with kids like my entire life. I used to be a Sunday School teacher when I was in like middle school and high school, so I always worked with the younger kids,” she said.

Growing up, Ms. Hoa went to several different schools. She went to seven schools, not including college. 

“I really really liked my last high school because that’s where I got to make more lasting friendships, but also it was a private school. So I got like a little more freedom in like what I could do in that school and I that was like kind of new, [be]cause I’d always gone to Public School.  So I had like periods off where I could just do whatever I wanted to. I could do homework, I could study, I could leave campus so then I could come back, that was nice,” she said.  

Ms. Hoa had strict rules on who she could talk to or hang out with growing up. 

“I developed close friends in my senior year of High School. And we actually got to hang out throughout my college years [be]cause I would go back and visit my family in Canada at the time. So every Christmas and Summer Break I would go back up to Canada and hang out with them. And I have two really really close friends right now, one is my roommate and one is a former teacher that used to work here,” she said. 

Ms. Hoa went to two colleges.

“I went to Valencia Community College first because I really really wanted to save money, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.  So I didn’t want to spend too much money at a four-year college…I got my associates’ degree and then I transferred to Rollins College where I studied critical media and cultural studies,” she said.

Ms. Hoa really enjoyed studying critical media in college.

“I actually loved it. It was so fun.  I got to watch movies and TV shows and analyze how they depict people and how it relates to us and how it affects us,” she said.

Ms. Hoa had a job before becoming a teacher. 

“I used to work as a Visa clerk in the US consular in Canada.  So I would help process applications for people who want to go visit the US,” she said. 

How Ms. Hoa came to Hamilton Grange (HG) is a very interesting subject.  She came to HG through a teaching program. It was also some luck that she was accepted for the job. 

“I became a teacher at HG through a teaching program called Teach for America, and they set up an interview here for me. And it was like a week before school started is when I got the interview and Mr. Lev asked me to come into the PD [a teacher meeting] and I really was nervous [be]cause I didn’t hear back from any of the other schools, and it just so happened that like I was offered a job here and I was like ‘Great! [I’l]l do it!” she said.   

This is her 4th year teaching at Hamilton Grange. Ms. Hoa is a Humanities teacher because that just so happened that was the job they were offering here. 

“I went into teaching thinking I would do ELA, because I looove literature, I love analyzing literature. And Humanities is kind of like the course they had here at Hamilton Grange,” she said. 

Ms. Hoa spoke about why she loves teaching Humanities.

“It’s also like a huge learning curve for me, too [be]cause when I taught seventh grade, I was learning a lot of history and I was like, ‘Whoa! This is new!’  But basically, I want kids to fall in love with reading as much as I do. And I want them to feel comfortable reading. [Be]cause I know it’s hard. So that’s why I’m doing Humanities,” she said. 

Ms. Hoa spoke about her favorite things to do outside of work. 

“I like to read novels while drinking tea while eating a snack. And I also like to take midday naps.  I think those are really nice. And I love to go bouldering. Like, I would do that any time of day,” she said. 

Ms. Hoa loves being a Humanities teacher because she loves to read and help kids discover the fun of reading. 

“I love the topics we get to talk about, I love the activities we get to do with you all. And, yeah. I like seeing when kids are excited about, like, what to read, or like a book that we’re reading.  I think that’s like always a win,” she said.