Back-to-School Teacher Highlights: Adria Bizjak
Adria’s teaching goals are two-fold: to make her students better individuals and to provide them with emotional support.
But her love of language wasn’t the only component of her decision to become a teacher. If you’ve read any of our previous teacher features, you know that for every teacher, there was something or someone that led them into this profession. For Adria, it was her high school teachers. These mentors demonstrated how profoundly a caring teacher can influence their students’ life choices. From these early educators, she credits not only for her inspiration, but also for helping her navigate a difficult time in her life:
“When I was in high school, my family was going through a really rough time and what ultimately kept me coming to school were my favorite teachers. They knew what was going on in my life, and they did their best to help me feel like I had a support system and like I had people who cared about me. There were times when it would have been easier for me to drop out of high school, but I kept going because I didn’t want to disappoint [my teachers]. I think that high school can be such a hard time for many people and it is the time in a person's life that can really dictate their future and how their lives will turn out.”
This spirit of kindness and support lives on as inspiration for Adria. She prioritizes making everyone feel loved and welcome, both in and out of the classroom, just as her teachers did for her. Because she focuses on both the academic and emotional well-being of her students, she is able to make lifelong connections with them. It’s her favorite part of being a teacher:
“I love hearing about their lives, accomplishments, goals, and plans for the future. And I love watching them grow into young adults and knowing (or at least hoping) that I helped them a little in that growth.”
As a bookstore, we had to ask - why does she think reading is so important for high school students? To that, her answer was still rooted in a deep understanding and compassion for her students.
“The most important thing that students gain from reading is knowing that there are other people out there who feel the same way as they do. As a teen, it can be so difficult to realize that you are not alone, but books can help with that. Reading a book and identifying with a character can make a person realize that their thoughts, feelings, and emotions are both valid and normal, which is so important for teenagers to realize."
Outside of the classroom, Adria spends time loving on her two pups, traveling, or working on creative projects. (Right now, she’s renovating her 100-year-old home!)
Adria, thank you so much for sitting down with us! Check out hers and others’ reading recommendations for high school students!