Teacher reveals secrets to reach out to students
Published Friday, January 25, 2013 2:53PM EST
A Montreal high school teacher is sharing her personal life with thousands of people in order to tell her students that adults are just like them.
This week Catherine Hogan posted a video online where she holds a series of signs with a message to students.
Sitting at her desk in front of a blackboard, Hogan flips through signs that describe her parent's divorce, her breakup with her boyfriend, her eating disorder -- all events that took place while she was in high school.
She was inspired to share her own life publicly after a school assignment where students were asked to write down what they were experiencing in their lives.
"I found that all the kids were putting on the cards that no one could hear them, no one was listening, no one was there for them," said Hogan.
"And my initial reaction as a teacher was 'yes we are. We're here for you.'
"And then I thought, maybe they don't know that."
So the Lindsay Place English teacher made a video -- half black and white, half in colour -- telling students about her life, and how she, and all teachers, are willing to listen.
"I knew that if I wanted them to really know that they could talk to us about things, I knew I had to be honest with them," Hogan said.
The video has since reached out beyond Pointe Claire, and is striking a chord with many.
Max Marini is one student who was touched.
"I thought it was very inspirational. I didn't know any of that stuff about her and it felt good knowing that she went through stuff as well," sad Max.
Sophie Dahan agreed, saying high school has always been difficult.
"There's a lot of people that judge you with how you look, how you dress, your size, it's very hard, to just fit in," said Sophie.
Other students, like Selena Aloisi, were glad that Hogan made the video showing high school has always been difficult.
"It's hard, it's hard, it's always been like that," said Selena.
That is exactly the reaction Hogan was hoping for.
Hogan said making the decision to share her life was easy, and she hopes that her willingness to demonstrate her attitude will convince students to reach out.
"If it gives even one more avenue for the kids to go to, then it's done something good I think," said Hogan.
"My students have been the ones who have made me feel brave about this."