The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

The student news site of Woodbridge High School

Golden Arrow

Ms. Hatter, Teacher of Promise, Is Committed to Bringing Out the Best in Her Students

Hatter’s unwavering belief in herself and her students has been vital to the success of her young teaching career
Kailah Cortez
Math teacher Ally Hatter smiles at her desk, welcoming in her students for a new day of math.

Just three years into her teaching career, Ally Hatter already feels at home at Woodbridge High. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as this past year the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) recognized her as a Teacher of Promise as a part of their annual Teachers of the Year awards.

Hatter explains the significance of the award to her as a teacher felt very full circle.

“One of my biggest goals working with my students is to make it clear that they have so much potential. They can do big things if they stay on their path and make it happen for themselves and work really hard,” Hatter said.

Hatter believes that receiving this award upholds that. 

“For me to get this award, teacher of promise, what I hear is that my district that I believe in, the students I support and the teachers I work with see potential in me. So that’s just the most inspiring thing,” Hatter said.

According to IUSD’s website, the award is meant to recognize “first- or second-year instructors, who go above and beyond, while demonstrating professional curiosity and an unbridled enthusiasm for teaching.” 

Hatter remembers always having a passion for education, even at a young age. 

“[My interest in] teaching began as a little kid,” Hatter said. “All I wanted to do was be in the classroom. It was my safe place…it felt like a place where I could just be me.”

Long before ever really teaching, Hatter says she was preparing for the day.

“I loved playing school. I was making seating charts for stuffed animals,” Hatter said, “My poor little brother always had to be my student.”

Beyond just the academic aspect of teaching, Hatter also values the personal connections she makes with her students.

“Establishing that human connection with your students…it’s everything to me,” Hatter said. “I could manage to teach y’all a bunch of math, but without the relationship, I couldn’t instill that belief in yourself and that potential to grow nearly as well, or if at all.”

This dedication to her students on both an academic and human level is one of the things that makes her so effective at teaching math, something her past students can attest to.

“She really takes the time to sit with you and genuinely think and talk through what you’re struggling with,” senior and former student of Hatter’s Ava Kessel said. “A lot of the time, people just get stuck in their own head. And she really brought out that confidence.”

This engaging method of teaching seems like it can definitely make subjects seem more understandable and less complicated. 

“With Ms. Hatter it’s more like communication where it’s ‘Try this, does this work? Oh, it doesn’t. Let’s see why this doesn’t work. Here’s the answer. Here’s how it works,’” senior and former student Cebastian Forbes said. “It’s like bouncing ideas off of each other in a way that you can actually learn it instead of like it being thrown at you.”

Despite how new she is to teaching, both Kessel and Forbes, who were students of hers in Hatter’s first year, recall being surprised upon learning she had only been teaching for that long. 

“It really felt like she'[d] been teaching [for] forever because the way she explained concepts or tried to get ideas across to us was so… I don’t know the word for it, but it was like she had done it like 1,000 times before.” Forbes said.

“I could have sworn that she’s …been teaching for 20 years.” Kessel said. 

Hatter hopes to continue instilling the confidence in her students that helped her overcome her own high school math classes.

“I struggled with [math]. I had some teachers [for] who I failed every honors placement test.” Hatter said “But I advocated. I was like, ‘I’ll work harder than anyone else. I want to be here, I really want to pursue mathematics.’ And they let me stay. And it was such a testament to how I came unprepared, but with hard work and the support of teachers who saw [my] potential, I could go and build my life around [math].”

One of Hatter’s favorite phrases to discuss is the term “Math person.”

“This idea that you are a math person or you aren’t a math person. There’s no gene for math: that hasn’t been scientifically proven,” Hatter said. “Go do math. Math is fun. My biggest thing that’s beyond math is just don’t let intimidation of a subject stop you from pursuing a passion. Your brain’s capable of a lot. You just got to grow it and work it a little bit.”

By all accounts, Woodbridge High and IUSD are fortunate to have Hatter to continue inspiring self-confidence and determination in her students for years to come.

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About the Contributors
Jackson Gillies
Jackson Gillies, Sports Editor
Hi everyone, I’m Jackson, and this year I’ll be Sports Editor for the Golden Arrow! I’m so excited for what will be my third year in the journalism program, and will continue to be a writer alongside my editor responsibilities. I look forward to using my articles to spotlight communities from all around campus and give everyone an opportunity to share their talents and stories with us all. Can’t wait to get started!
Kailah Cortez
Kailah Cortez, Business Manager/ Photographer
Whatup Warriors! I’m Kailah Cortez and I’m going to be Business Manager and a photographer for the Golden Arrow this year. I’m looking forward to collaborating with the rest of the Golden Arrow Staff to bring you all amazing stories. I am thrilled to see what this year has for us! Enjoy :P