Teacher Hannah Harless: ‘Every day is a new adventure’

Published 5:00 am Friday, February 23, 2024

By Emily Burleigh

Lake Charles native Hannah Harless, 30, teaches more than just curriculum in her classroom.

She teaches at St. Margret’s Catholic School and sees teaching there as a chance to cultivate a relationship with God in each of her students. As a result, the students learn about important moral lessons and concepts.

“Having religion classes teaches civility, love, kindness and, above all, how to love one another the way you want to be treated.”

She attended St. Louis Catholic High School and graduated from McNeese State University in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

After graduation, she was offered the opportunity to cover two maternity leave positions at Saint Margaret Catholic School: kindergarten and third grade. After those jobs were completed, she was hired as a permanent first-grade teacher at the school in 2018.

She is now in her sixth year of teaching.

She knew from a very young age she wanted to be an educator. In middle school, a teacher she viewed as a role model told her she would make a great teacher. That comment informed her future, and encouraged her to pursue that career path.

Her decision to become a teacher was solidified in high school while working at St. Margaret’s Summer Care Program. She also worked in the school’s After School Care Program and helped students with homework. This is where her love for children blossomed.

“I loved the look the kids would get when they accomplished their work and understood new concepts.”

Harless was a good student herself, but school did not come easy to her. She said she was able to maintain good grades, but only through hard work and explorative study methods and approaches. Her experience in school influenced her decision to become a teacher because she felt called to help students discover their learning styles.

“I wanted to be able to help others feel supported in how they learned best, and not in just one specific way. This has helped me present information to culturally diverse students in my classroom.”

Harless loves teaching first grade because the students make it fun.

“Every day is a new adventure with them, and they keep me on my toes!”

At this grade level, she also feels the weight of responsibility. The experience students have in the first grade can impact the rest of their school career, she said.

“I think the impact of first grade can affect how they will feel about school for the rest of their lives. I want to ensure my students have a lifetime love for school and learning.”

One of the most important traits she nurtures in her students is respect.

“I ask that they give me respect, and in return, I will give it back to them. I think this helps to create a positive relationship between my students and myself, which leads to a fun, but also trustworthy classroom environment.”

Throughout her life, Harless was told teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs a person can do. It wasn’t until she became an educator herself that she understood the validity of that claim. She truly loves her job, and could not see herself doing anything else.

“Some people say if you truly love your job, it is not considered work at all, and that is exactly how I feel about teaching.”

She said that teachers should strive to fully understand the impact their role has on the lives of students because “you truly never know the impact you are having on a child.”

“This impact could potentially change the world. My students are the future of our society, and from what I see, we are headed in the right direction for the future!”