Ms. Bobay: Making History Come Alive by Nuala G.
Mrs. Bobay is a 6th-grade history teacher. She has made learning fun and interesting for all of her students. She also loves to grow her students' passion for history through fun and engaging activities.
Have there been any major changes for you during COVID-19?
Not being able to say goodbye to last year’s classes was really hard. And then to have to wait until April to meet this year’s classes was also really hard. Personally, the biggest change was I bought a house! I was renting an apartment and the interest rates were really low. And the price of houses had dropped, so my husband and I decided it was a good time to buy! My husband and I have already been married for a year and a half, so it was kind of in the works to buy a house at some point.
What was the hardest part about moving during the pandemic?
I am a social person. It’s been hard to move into my house and not have a housewarming party. A lot of my friends haven’t even seen my house, even though I have lived there for eight months. So it’s really hard to now have the space to have people over, but I still can’t.
Covid-19 has changed school this year, what's it like being back in the classroom?
I love it. I didn’t realize how much I miss teaching in a classroom. It kind of adds an element to me. I am more of the kind of teacher I want to be when I am in the classroom; not that I wasn’t at home, but it’s just easier and more natural. I love to collaborate with other teachers because they’re right down the hall. I love to see all the different faces in the hallway. I’m a people person!
What do you think is the most challenging thing about teaching in the classroom and online?
Definitely giving each student the attention they need and deserve. I don’t want to favor my in-person kids, but I don’t want to favor my virtual kids and leave the in-person kids left behind. It’s hard to find the balance.
Have you always been enthusiastic about history?
Oh, my gosh, yes! My dad has always loved history my entire life and taught me and my siblings. We grew up going to D.C. museums and Colonial Williamsburg. I always knew I wanted to become a history teacher. It’s kind of funny because my three older siblings also said they wanted to become history teachers growing up, and I’m the only one who stuck it out.
If you could live in any time period, what would it be?
The Roaring Twenties. I love Gatsby. It sounds like a fun era. Everyone just came out of the 1918 flu pandemic, so it was like there were no worries.
What classes do you teach?
I have [taught] Ancient World primarily. We do a little bit of religion and culture which we're just going into the fourth quarter. I am also teaching Global Humanities. And, I have done a year of U.S. history. That’s about it!
What's the most enjoyable part about teaching middle schoolers?
Honestly, I never wanted to become a middle school teacher until I taught middle school, and I loved it. Now, I never want to leave. You guys still have a love and passion for school that I love, and I also love to help students navigate having so many teachers and all these changes, which is so much fun. This year I have seen so much growth, and to see you guys grow from September to June is the coolest thing in the entire world. I remember so many of my students were shy at the beginning of the year, but then to see you blossom throughout the school year is the best.
How do you prepare for a class?
All the lesson planning I do is with the other 6th-grade history teachers. We will sit and plan the activities and fun things students will do, and the worksheets, and slides. I like to do a lot of my prep for the next week, the previous week, so I can have a weekend to relax. And before class, I like to get everything in modules and have music playing and give you guys some time to prepare. I love to put music on because I hate silence. I know some people do like silence, but I just need something in the background.
What do you want your students to learn from your classes?
I just want you guys to love history. I think history is one of those subjects that automatically gets deemed as really boring. You learn the same thing over and over again; it’s just boring. But if I can get at least a couple of kids to like history by the end of the year, I know I did the job right. History’s fun! We can watch cool videos and play fun games, but still, learn.
Have you heard of Vogue's 73 questions interviews?
I love them!
What’s your lucky number? 22
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? If you know me, you know I am deathly afraid of heights and going upside down. Everyone will laugh at this, but the most daring thing I have done is the Rock n Roller Coaster at Disney World because it goes super fast and is high.
What did you want to be when you were 12? A history teacher!
What’s a habit you want to break? Staying up too late. I am a night owl.
In three words, how would you describe yourself? Outgoing, funny, and caring
What is an important piece of advice you have been told? Don’t take life too seriously.
If you could go back in time to any moment or day, where would you travel? When FDR was president. He was one of my favorite presidents. I wrote a whole paper about him in college. I would love to hear him speak.
Do you have a nickname? My family calls me Emmy, but my friends call me Em.
Who is your hero? Definitely, my mom, she is my best friend. She handled way too many kids with big personalities, but she never let us feel like she was too busy. She will do anything for us even now. I would love to be like her someday.
As you can see, Ms. Bobay’s cheerful, upbeat, and energetic. She is working hard at her job and cares about her students a lot. I hope you have learned something new about one of our impressive JW teachers!