Glens Falls City School District recognizes national Teacher Appreciation Week by highlighting committed and enthusiastic teachers from every one of our schools each day of the week! Read on for an inside interview with Avery Babson—one of the most dynamic teachers around our district.
Avery Babson is a 2001 graduate of GFHS! After high school, she spent a year in Bolivia as a Rotary exchange student. From there, she received a B.A. in Musical Theater from Marymount Manhattan College, attended UAlbany for Spanish, and finally a Masters in teaching from SUNY Plattsburgh. She lives in Glens Falls with her husband (also a GFHS graduate) and kids who attend Big Cross.
What is the best thing about teaching at GFMS?
GFMS is home. I adore being greeted each day with an “Hola Señora” from students both former and current. Even students who I haven’t had in the classroom greet me with a smile and an “hola” at times. It melts my heart! From the boundless energy in the halls to watching students grow both academically and socially throughout the year, it is an honor to work at my alma mater.
Describe your favorite lesson or unit from this year … and what did the students think of it?
It is tough to pinpoint a favorite lesson, but I do have favorite moments. I tell a lot of off-the-cuff stories from my experience living as an exchange student in Bolivia. Though the stories are shared spontaneously, they (almost) always compliment our unit of study. The kids get a kick out of the very embarrassing mistakes I made while learning the Spanish language and they love hearing about my adventures. In an otherwise vibrant and loud classroom, I can hear a pin drop when stories are told – and their subsequent questions regarding the culture are wonderfully insightful! Through pictures, stories, music and videos, the students go on a journey with me…and they learn that making mistakes while learning a language is encouraged. Making mistakes is proof that they are trying!
How was pandemic teaching for you? How are you doing now?
2020- When facebook memories pop up from the days of teaching remotely while simultaneously guiding a kindergartener and preschooler at home I think to myself, “WHAT. WAS. THAT?!”
2021- My degree in musical theatre, teaching, AND years of experience as a waitress were put to the ultimate test. Multitasking, quick thinking, learning new technology, flexibility and adaptability were key to the pandemic hybrid model. The constant unknown was scary, difficult and sometimes exciting. When the lows were low…JAZZ HANDS!
2022- Things are looking up. Teaching a language with a mask on is tough. When I was a Spanish student and an exchange student, I relied on watching the speaker’s mouth to aid in comprehension. Now that the masks are somewhat off (at least for the time being), I feel like we can connect again.
Can you describe your efforts on the musical and the GFMS Morning Show?
The restrictions on clubs and activities during the heat of the pandemic put Middle School Drama Club and the 2021 musical in the high school to a screeching halt. Looking for a creative way for our school community to share news, fun skits and actually see one another, I decided to create the GFMS morning show. Since it started in October of 2020, the morning show has taken on a life of its own. Working with kids on the morning show is always one of the highlights of my week. The students make me laugh. We have fun. We giggle. We connect as a building and celebrate our successes. I am grateful to have been supported and encouraged by faculty, staff and administrators to keep it going!
In addition to working creatively with middle school students, I also have the opportunity to work with high school students as the musical director. Directing the GFHS musical in a pandemic year was probably the biggest accomplishment yet in my 11 years of teaching (this is year 3 for me at GFMS!). A cast and crew of over 30 students worked tirelessly on our production of HONK, The Ugly Duckling Musical. I was and am incredibly proud of their determination and resilience. Putting on a musical is a sport. Students are dancing, singing, acting, and moving props/ scenery sometimes all at the same time! It takes stamina, conditioning, practice, drive, passion, collaboration, skill, time management and so much more! The students rose above and beyond the challenge. Because of their hard work, they received 7 out of 8 High School Musical Theater Award nominations! On May 14th, they will showcase their hard work by performing a musical number from our production on the PROCTORS STAGE!!
[Editor’s note: On performance weekend of HONK!, a lead actress suddenly became unable to perform for the second show. Rather than have the entire cast and crew miss out on their second performance, Mrs. Babson put on a costume, grabbed the book with lines, and showed her true heart for her students by singing, dancing, and quite literally willing the show into being so our student-musicians could shine.]