10 Years at IslandWood: Hannah Guldin

In August, TAF’s Fellows will return to the Martinez Fellowship’s annual three-day summer retreat where teachers of color receive professional development, community support, and participate in invigorating sessions. For the last 10 years, the retreat has been held at IslandWood, an environmental education center on Brainbridge Island, WA, and has become a tradition that our Fellows to look forward to.

To celebrate, we’re highlighting one Fellow from each of Martinez Fellowship’s ten cohorts.

Meet Hannah Guldin of Cohort 4, an elementary teacher at Martin Sortun Elementary School of Kent School District.

TAF: What was one win or winning moment this past school year?

Hannah: A winning moment I have everyday is when I hear my kids giving each other support when someone feels sad about failing and relating those fails to growing as a learner. Our classroom motto “donut be afraid to make mistakes” relates to our donut theme and sprinkling kindness with actions and words. It truly melts my “teacher heart” when my kids are discussing growing their dendrites and having grit.

TAF: Why did you want to become a teacher, and why are you still a teacher?

Hannah: I always knew I wanted to be a teacher from a young age. This was solidified in college when I worked with youth in foster care and I saw how much impact one person can have on a child’s life, just by being present, supportive, and reliable. I knew that I could have an impact on dozens of students every day when I became a teacher. I am more than happy to provide my students with a structured and caring environment to succeed academically and emotionally. My kids know I love them because we have strong relationships built on trust and sprinkling kindness!

I am still a teacher because I absolutely love teaching reading. There is nothing that comes close to watching a student use all the reading skills you have taught them and putting it all together to figure out not only how to read a book, but also showing enthusiasm and excitement about what is happening in the book. There is a sense of independence that students have when they feel confident enough to pick up any book that interests them and be able to laugh and discuss it with their friends. It’s truly priceless to watch the whole process unfold in just a school year

TAF: What do you with the world knew about being a teacher of color?

Hannah: What I wish the world knew about being a teacher of color is that we have a clear idea of the struggles that students of color have, whether that is interacting with the majority culture and/or the American school system. We play an important role in all students’ lives in affirming the multiplicity of cultures in the classroom and modeling inclusion and celebration.

“We play an important role in  all students’ lives in affirming the multiplicity of cultures in the classroom and modeling inclusion and celebration.”

TAF’s Martinez Fellowship Program recruits and retains teachers of color in Washington State. Founded in 2008, its 151 Fellows impact over 9,100 students by providing representation and creating equitable academic environments.

By 2038, TAF plans to add over 2,400 teachers of color to the fellowship. Learn more about the Martinez Fellowship.

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Joana Chacon, Martinez Fellowship Cohort 1Becca with Fellow Nathan Hale teachers