By: Janelle Winters
Name: Katie Honerkamp
Department: ESOL (ESOL History)
Education: Providence University (RI, Undergrad), American University (Grad)
Previous jobs: English Teacher in Japan
Year started at Blair: 2002 (January)
Hobbies: Reading, traveling
It's hard to imagine that only a few years ago, Honerkamp had no plan for her life aside from her education. "I guess you could say I was a grad without a clue," she said with a slight grin, "but hey, that's quite a popular trend now-a-days," she added. After majoring in history and political science as an undergrad at Providence College, Honerkamp applied for "boring jobs like working at insurance companies and office desk-job settings."
Then she got a job offer to teach English to children in Japan. "It seemed like the only remotely interesting job, so I just got on a plane, and lived in Japan for a few years," she said. In Japan, Honerkamp discovered that she had a passion for teaching, and traveling to learn about other cultures and people around the world. "Japan forces you to deal with a lot of other things going on in the world outside of the U.S. You learn from their homogeneous culture and traditions that different is not wrong…it's just different," she explained.
Upon her return to the U.S., Honerkamp enrolled in American University, and earned a degree in ESOL and history, along with teacher certification. She came to Blair last January as a student teacher.
This year, Honerkamp teaches history and language to ESOL students at Blair. "It's hard because they don't have the contacts like American kids do," she said. "If I told you about Christopher Columbus, you'd have a picture of him is in your head already," she explained, "but they don't: and on top of this, they have to learn to speak read and write in English."
However, Honerkamp said that the positives far outweigh the negatives in her teaching experience at Blair. "The kids here are so respectful. They want to learn English so bad, and they are driven. I mean, they are like, 'Give it to me!' with every assignment," she says wide-eyed. "It makes teaching so rewarding," she added.
Between teaching, working long hours, and commuting to her home in Alexandria, VA, Honerkamp has little time to think about settling down and starting a family. But, she says, with her good sense of humor sparking up, "I would like for somebody to take me around the world someday."