Hayden’s passion helps create bonds with students



Hayden has been teaching at the high school for the past 18 years. She strives to learn new things from her students every day.

She has worked at the school for 18 years and has taught all the high school grades and six different English courses. She is the leader of the Faculty Council, has been an influential voice at the high school for a long time, and she is an exceptional baker. The person that stands behind this impressive resume is none other than English teacher Rebecca Hayden.
Since being hired as an English teacher at the high school in 2001, Hayden has never lost her passion for teaching literature.
Hayden had always known that teaching would become her career. After flirting with becoming a music major in college, she eventually went to England to get her master’s in English. She then got her second master’s in English and American literature at Boston University.
After graduating, Hayden taught English in Germany for a year and afterwards worked in private schools. She eventually got a job as a substitute teacher at the high school in 1989.
“I was here for about three or four months and then I applied for a job every year for 12 years because I really just fell in love with the school and they finally hired me in 2001,” Hayden said.
Currently, Hayden is teaching World Literature, American Literature, and British Literature. According to English Curriculum Coordinator John Andrews, her passion for her job is unmatched.
“She loves literature, with a passion that few others can surpass, and she loves working with teenagers. So she has two of the things I think are most important for an English teacher,” Andrews said.
Hayden cares deeply for her students and demonstrates that in every class that she teaches.
“She connects what’s going on in the class at the moment and what she thinks students will appreciate based on what she knows about them from before,” Andrews said. “She also speaks with other teachers about students from current years or past years and you can just hear the compassion in her voice for them.”
Sophomore Suzanne Collins has had Hayden for two years in a row and remains impressed by Hayden’s teaching ability.
“She’s definitely passionate about what she does. I think she always brings a lot of energy to the class and inspires me to write better,” Collins said.
Hayden is not afraid to ask a lot of her students and keeps high expectations.
“You ask anybody in the school, I know I have a reputation that I’m a demanding teacher. I think I do demand a lot, but I try to give as much as I can to support people that need to grow,” Hayden said.
Collins thinks Hayden’s class provides the right amount of difficulty as Hayden is always there to help her students grow.
“She is a strict teacher, but a really good teacher because she always offers extra help after school, and you’ll always feel comfortable going to her if you need help. Also you can rewrite essays for full credit,” Collins said.
Hayden tries not only to teach her students literature but to have them learn things from each other. She believes in a student-centered classroom and lets her passion for English inform what she does in her classes.
“I think some people get kind of burned out in their jobs or get bored or think, ‘Well there’s nothing left for me in this job’ whereas I just feel like every day is a new day. My students have something to learn from me. I have something to learn from them,” Hayden said.
According to Hayden, English offers a unique opportunity for everyone to learn from each other. She will never burn out teaching because every new class and book will offer a completely different array of challenges.
“One reason English is just so different is that everybody brings something to a book,” Hayden said. “Everybody brings their own experiences, their own feelings, their own memories, their own insights, and that’s one reason I think class discussions are so exciting. That is really just one of the best things about teaching English.”