Teacher Feature: Ms. Hogan

Anna Kendzior, Staff Writer

It is well known that public schools and private schools are vastly different in many ways, but only people who have experienced both can truly know just how different they are. Mrs. Hogan is one of these people.

Mrs. Hogan has been an English teacher at DePaul Prep for four years. She teaches English at three levels: English 1, English 3, and English 4. Before that, she taught for 17 years. She mostly taught at public schools before her time at DePaul, including Curie High School and Little Village High School. Her experience teaching high school has been varied, she says. She says the environment at previous schools was “very different” from her experience at DePaul, referring to how “we have so many advantages, that are wonderful.”

Hogan’s own experience as a student in a large public high school was like “the movie Mean Girls, if it were set in the 90s,” where she witnessed things like “horrible bullying [and] terrible racism.” Elaborating, she calls it traditional, cliquey, and segregated. She does not look back on the experience fondly, saying “I really liked to read and learn, but I didn’t like school.” Coming from a less fortunate family than some of her peers, Hogan says, “I did well [in school] because I had to: I didn’t have the money for college like a lot of my classmates”

However, Hogan was able to look back on her college experience much more fondly. Her financial struggles didn’t stop her from going on to graduate from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne with a major in English and a minor in Education. She calls college “so much better” than her high school experience: “It was like a freedom.” Her hatred of her high school made the transition to college much easier, although the University of Illinois had around 45,000 students. She mentions that she “had two jobs… and went to school full time” in college, showing how hard work and dedication can help students achieve.

Hogan puts a heavy emphasis on the fact that grades aren’t everything. She says she “graduated a very smart student, but a very dumb person.” She encourages students to take advantage of what they can, and to realize that not everyone has the resources they do. “I’ve lost…probably about 25 students to gun violence,” she says, commenting on how one of the biggest privileges many students at DePaul Prep have is that they “don’t have to worry about being shot on the way home.” This is a luxury that often wasn’t guaranteed for kids at schools Mrs. Hogan worked at formerly and at many other schools across Chicago.

Overall, Hogan pushes the narrative of gratitude and curiosity in her students. She encourages students to be “coachable” and able to take feedback. According to her, a student who is willing to try their best, no matter what that may be, is much better than one who doesn’t try.