Teacher Extraordinaire: Eric Hansen
What Blake teacher comes to mind when you hear the words handyman, poet, reporter? Stymied? Read on! This multi-talented faculty member is none other than Mr. Eric Hansen, teacher extraordinaire of seventh and eighth grade English. Hansen honed his English skills during his first job out of college as a newspaper reporter in central Florida. He eventually felt a calling to teach and to share his own life-shaping experiences with students the way his own teachers had shared with him. And unto us, a new teacher was born!
Eric spent six years at Crosswinds Arts and Science School in Maplewood, where he was voted Top Teacher by Fox 9 News (the first recipient of the honor). He also taught English for a year at the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Hansen has been a member of the Blake faculty for three years. What makes this school so special for him? “Blake takes pains to figure out what no school in the country has perfected: achievement with equity. Small class sizes give me the chance to teach every student as an individual — even, ideally, as a reading and writing apprentice.”
Hansen’s dad worked for IBM in a job that took his family up and down the East coast, but Minnesota is now home for him, his wife, Alison, 10-year-old son, Miles, and 8-year-old daughter, Fiona. Hansen spent his summer tearing apart his kitchen and putting it back together again. When he wasn’t ripping and tearing down and pounding, he was reading and reading and reading! When he wasn’t reading, he was writing poetry. In fact, three of his poems will be coming out in the North American Review, Water~Stone Review and the 2012 St. Paul Almanac.
“Learning is my profession’s greatest gift. I never stop learning about reading and writing, about my students, about leadership and about stewardship,” Hansen says. His favorite piece of advice for his students? “Seek out great teachers, treat them well, and learn everything they have to teach, even their gestures or how they talk to people.” The most important lesson Eric has learned as a teacher and parent? “Listening matters more than talking.”