Welcome to Conversations with Cavaliers. In this series, we get to know more about our faculty and staff Cavaliers.
Miss Ham (second grade) talks with Mrs. Teeple(kindergarten) about the Red Sox’s record, her love of travel, and buying her first house.
[Mrs. Teeple] How are the Red Sox doing?
[Miss Ham] We’re doing great! 20 and 7. We still have one of the best records in baseball.
Where did this love of Red Sox come from?
My parents are from the East Coast. I grew up all over the world, but we came back every summer to Connecticut, so I adopted my parents’ team, which was the Red Sox. The best memories of my summers were when all my cousins would sit in front of the TV, and we’d watch Red Sox games. There are a couple outliers who are Yankees fans, but we don’t talk about them.
You spent a lot of your life traveling. Which countries or cities have you visited or lived in?
I’ve been to twenty-seven countries, so I won’t list all of them. Some of my favorites are Italy, Australia, and probably Prague as far as cities go. I lived in Singapore and Hong Kong before moving back to the States. I’d move back to Singapore in a heartbeat.
What do you think about living in Atlanta, Georgia?
The weather is great. Growing up in Singapore, I spent time in this kind of weather. I love it. I don’t mind the humidity. I am a creature of warmth and sunlight.
Have you acquired any Southern tastes?
I don’t do sweet tea, but I’m getting used to grits. Biscuits and gravy are great too.
I understand you are an avid angler.
[Miss Ham laughs and explains.] I went fishing this year for the first time with Mrs. Teeples’ family, and I actually caught two fish! It was fun. I would do that again in a heartbeat.
It surprised me that you had never been fishing.
Now that I have started going backpacking, I want to learn how to fish and hunt, so then I can survive in the wilderness.
Describe a little bit about your Hillsdale experience.
Hillsdale is a tiny, tiny school. It’s its own little culture, little world. It was very insular, but they do a good job of prepping you for being an adult outside in the real world. My favorite part was my job; I worked all four years there as a librarian.
You were a history major?
I was actually an American studies major with a focus in history.
What is your favorite historical era?
Modern military history. And by modern, I mean nineteenth and twentieth century. My kids get blurbs of World War I and World War II if we have extra time at the end of the year.
Do you enjoy the battles?
I love the battles. You see the best and worst of humankind during war.
Speaking of battles, tell me about your experience in second grade?
[Laughter.] Other than the fact that I’m struggling to find shoes big enough to be taller than my kids? I’ve got three students this year who are taller than me. It may just be two, but I might have a third. I just try not to stand next to them too much.
What was Miss Ham like in elementary school?
I was an energetic child. I repeated fourth grade which angered me greatly at the time, but I’m now really thankful for it. We were moving back from Singapore to the United States, and my parents thought real hard about it and decided that I wasn’t quite ready. It was one of the best choices they made for me. It gave me a chance to be a kid a little longer, and I wasn’t ready to grow up. Before that, all my teachers had pandered to my temper tantrums. If I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom, they would let me. I wish now they hadn’t. My fourth-grade teacher in the States was the first teacher who gave me consequences for my behavior. In second grade, I was always getting in trouble for talking. I rarely got a sticker for good behavior; I never stopped talking.
Have you changed much?
[Laughter.] I just channeled it. Now I teach! I get paid to talk the whole time.
Traveling, Red Sox, model airplanes, what else do we need to know about you?
I have three things. I will know you’re a friend of mine if you can tell me these three.
1. I lived overseas for a number of years.
2. I am a Red Sox fan.
3. I am adopted.
I was born in South Carolina actually.
So you have the South in your blood. We have to get you drinking sweet tea.
I have known all my life that I was adopted; it has always been a special thing for me. My official adoption day is April 14, the same day Lincoln was shot and the Titanic sank. Clearly something good had to happen on that day! My younger brother, of whom I am very proud, was also adopted. He was an All-American soccer player at his college, just got a job as an assistant coach at Morehead State University, and is getting married this September.
I’ve heard a rumor that you may be settling roots in Atlanta.
Yes, I put an offer in on a house the other day, and it was accepted. Assuming nothing bad happens in the next month, I will be getting the keys on May 30. I am a bit terrified, but excited. So I am here to stay!
Why Atlanta Classical Academy?
I came for the heat and Braves baseball. [Laughter.] I had to fight for this job actually. I wanted to teach here because of Dr. Moore. I’d never taken any of his classes, but I knew him by reputation and had spoken with him a few times. I really admired him. Mr. Kirby and Dr. Friedman interviewed me, and I liked the vision of the school, having grown up on the Core Knowledge curriculum. I had always wanted to come down South and explore more of the country, as the Northeast, the West Coast, and the Midwest had already been checked off my list. I had a history of giving everything to things I cared about, but neglecting what I wasn’t passionate about. Dr. Moore had heard about this from some of my teachers. I went to his office six or seven times trying to get this job. He decided to take a chance on me, and, by the end of the first year, he told me it was one of the best choices he had made, at least in regards to me. I have not regretted it.