Right behind an always closed door, hiding in a small divot in the halls, right behind the auditorium, is a classroom that many have not paid much mind to. That classroom doesn’t teach any science, math, or English; but rather an overlooked form of expression: theatre. And who teaches the class is none other than the jovial Ms. Hoffen.
Ms. Hoffen is one of Oakland Mill’s newest additions to the teaching faculty. This is the first time Ms. Hoffen has ever taught in a public school, though she began her teaching career at a young age of 17 at a pre-k daycare.
She first fell in love with theatre in second grade, and since then she has passionately followed and participated in the art ever since. During her high school years, Ms. Hoffen invested more time into theatre, working tirelessly on shows for her four years. “It was just insanity,” she laughed as she described her formative years.
Ms. Hoffen attended Rowan University and Maryland’s own UMBC. There she continued to pursue her love for theatre arts. “Theatre did not get that much attention [from the university]” as she would like, but despite that she still stuck to it and also found her love for teaching during her studies.
She wanted to spread her passion, and went to teach theatre here at OM. She likes Howard County and the other theatre teachers within the school system, and found herself here at hOMe. She loves what she describes as “magical moments” when she teaches her students, especially those who doubt themselves in the art of theatre, and seeing them grow from her teaching into the people they doubted themselves to be. When asked about if she sees herself in her students, she jokes, “Yeah, the chatty students,” but continues about how she also sees herself in those students that doubt themselves, which is why Ms. Hoffen is so hopeful towards them.
Ms. Hoffen shared her eccentric wisdom to those in high school currently. “Always drink water… Never doubt yourself. Ever… Always be silly, never stop laughing… and sing all the time.” she lists, as her students confirm that she still takes her own advice today. As for those going to college, “Take your time to be a person. Keep eyes on the prize but don’t be afraid to be human” she recommends to those who let schoolwork consume their personal time and relationships. Plays she recommends are “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Glass Menagerie.” Musicals she recommends (which she elaborated that musicals, unlike plays, has music) “Pippin”, “Hairspray”, “Aida,” and “The Prom”. Music she enjoys is, and requested to have to be on paper “All of it except screamo and Taylor Swift.”