By Zoe Daniel
Students and staff alike are excited to welcome Ms. Wagner, our new English teacher, to the BHHS community. I sat down with Ms. Wagner to uncover more about her life before teaching at Byram.
When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?
I knew in high school, around my senior year – but only after I started looking at colleges. Initially, I wanted to be a forensic pathologist and cut up dead people (she added with a laugh) because I love reading mystery stories and watching crime shows. But after a certain point, I realized that I wanted to be able to spend time with family. With long hours as a forensic pathologist, I realized that wouldn’t be possible. Ultimately, I followed my love of literature. When I got to college I majored in English and French Literature, and I got certified on the side.
Did you teach anywhere before you came to Byram?
So many places! I graduated from college in 2008 and my first teaching job was in France – I taught elementary school students French. Unfortunately, while I was there the economy crashed and people in the communities had less money to pay taxes so teachers ended up being cut. I came back to New York, but there weren’t any teaching jobs. I spent six years substituting and doing various leave replacements until I came to Byram! I’ve taught all around and it has really given me the ability to compare and see what’s really great about Byram. We have a great principal who really cares about the teachers – it’s definitely not a bad place to be.
What is your favorite thing about Byram?
I really love my colleagues. They are intelligent, sharp, and they love to stay up to date and read. I learn so much from all of them. It’s really exciting to be with people who are so excited about the work they do. It can be difficult to self-motivate when there are negative people around but this department is so motivated! It boosts my creativity and helps me to do the best work for you all, the students.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
I like seeing literature in new and different ways. Every time I read something, I notice something new. Every time I get to share with students, I learn and realize something that I didn’t see before. It’s really fun to take a journey with high schoolers because all of you see the world in a different and unique way. I love getting a different perspective on the world.
Did you write for your school newspaper in high school?
I was actually yearbook editor. I did that for two years – so not quite writing! – something a little bit different.
What was your first job?
I worked for my neighbor who had a craft business. She pressed flowers and I framed all of her work for her.
Other than teaching, what has been your favorite job?
I taught Argentine Tango in Geneva, New York. I taught lessons on a college campus there; it was a fun experience.
What is a fun fact about you or something that most people wouldn’t know?
I fenced foil when I was in college. I picked it up right when I got to campus, and I did that for all four years. I was captain of our club and it was definitely different, but a fun experience.
Mrs. Wagner serves as an excellent addition to the Byram Hills community and is sure to become a Byram favorite. Her excitement and love for teaching are evident through each lesson and conversation she shares with her students. On behalf of Byram Hills, we are happy to welcome Ms. Wagner!