Bettina Hohner

Kindergarten Teacher

How many years have you worked at Oak Grove?

I have been a parent at Oak Grove since 2005 and a teacher since 2007. I have been a Kindergarten teacher since 2012.

Why do you work at Oak Grove?

I found Oak Grove School 14 years ago when I was looking for a school for my daughter Luna. I was looking for a school that would not only focus on the intellectual but also on the social and emotional growth of a child. A school that embraces and sees the whole child and supports and fosters a child’s deep curiosity and joy of learning while appreciating cooperation, diversity, and peaceful communication.

At Oak Grove School I found more than I was looking for. I found not only a school, but a community in which one can explore deeper questions involved in the process of understanding oneself, one’s relationship to others, to nature, and to the world around us.

A quote that inspires your approach to your job.

“The one who plants trees, knowing he/she will never sit in their shade, has started to understand the meaning of life.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Where is your special spot on campus?

The Baby Oak Tree. I saw my daughter Luna run to the baby oak tree when she first joined Oak Grove School as a three-year-old girl, and since then I’ve enjoyed taking students there every morning. Over all these years, the baby oak tree has grown and so have the students. I’m excited for all the students who will run there in the years to come.

What outdoor experience has been most impactful for you?

I have sweet memories of being in nature with my family as a child — hiking, fishing, and skiing. Being in nature and having nature become a part of me is very grounding and calming for me. It is an experience that I love to share with my daughter. Occasionally I take her out in the wilderness to go backpacking. Walking side by side with a heavy backpack, having endless and deep conversations, building a campfire together, and watching the stars at night have been some of the most beautiful and bonding experiences for which I’m very grateful. I’m excited about the way Oak Grove supports the students’ relationship with nature and about the opportunities offered by Oak Grove’s outdoor program.

Which teacher in your life affected you greatly? How?

There have been many wonderful teachers in my life, including my family, friends, and colleagues who affected me greatly. I also have been affected deeply by the circumstances of my upbringing. Growing up in Germany, the dark part of German history was a subject of broad public discourse and an important element of my education, ever since I was little, and it defined my adolescence. As a teenager I devoted time to being politically active for human rights. After college, I worked for ten years for an international nonprofit organization as a counselor for refugees. All of these experiences affected and shaped me deeply. By exploring the deeper questions of what it means to be human, conflict resolution, cooperation, and peaceful communication have become values that I hold deep in my heart.

Favorite Oak Grove expression?

“Oak Grove School is the best non-competitive school.”