Staffer of the Month- Ms. Behrent


Congratulations to Ms. Behrent for being awarded the Staffer of the Month! She is a dedicated and caring individual, who continues to inspire her students every year.

1. Tell us about yourself. What do you want the students of FDR High School to know about you?

I grew up in France and went to school there until I graduated from high school. Then, I returned to the United States for college. I spent one semester studying abroad at a university in Ghana (in West Africa). Having grown up in schools that were very diverse and catered to an international group of students, I feel very at home at FDR and appreciate the diversity of languages, experiences, and cultures that make FDR such a special place.

2. How would you describe yourself in three words?

I don’t know.

3. Why did you choose to be a teacher?

I began teaching while I was in graduate school. When I first started graduate school, I was more interested in research; but I fell in love with teaching and decided to try teaching high school. I’ve been at FDR ever since.

4. Why do think English Literature is important?

For me, literature opens the door to a new understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. It is a way of developing empathy and understanding for other people’s lives, experiences, and imagining a world (or worlds) beyond the one we know. It helps us to develop the ability to think critically about our world, and our own place within it.

5. What were your most vivid memories at your school or college?

I had a couple of amazing English and History teachers who helped to nurture my love for both subjects. My most vivid memories are of the plays I participated in as part of my school’s theater group. Thus, began a lifelong love of theater.

6. Is there any author who influenced your life a lot, or is there any author whose work you enjoy a lot?

Victor Hugo is an author who had a huge impact on me as a teenager. I fell in love with Les Miserables which is still one of my favorite novels. I also love Toni Morrison whose novels The Bluest Eye and Beloved, I also first read in high school. Even though Hugo and Morrison are very different, they both opened up my mind to new understandings of the world and the role literature could play in changing ideas and promoting social justice.

7. What has been your greatest teaching moment so far?

Every time I watch an amazing student performance or read an interesting piece of student writing—whether it be a story, poem or a play—is a great teaching moment, especially when students work collaboratively to produce amazing results.

8. Do you have any interests or hobbies outside school life? If so, can you mention them?

I read, write, and paint. I am also active in the teachers’ union and work with groups for education and social justice.

9. What would your advice be to students aspiring to improve their literacy skills?

Read. Read a lot. Read anything. Read more. Read critically and thoughtfully. But above all, read.

10. Is there any novel, play, or poem you really like teaching to your class?

I enjoy teaching A Streetcar Named Desire, because it tends to be popular among students. I also enjoy teaching The Bluest Eye, because it’s a novel that, while difficult, is very powerful and makes people think, which produces interesting discussions and debates. Above all, I like teaching works that allow students to express their own creativity. I love teaching works that can help inspire students to write their own poetry, stories, and plays to share in class.

11. Any favorite quotes?

“In a mad world, only the mad are sane.” Akira Kurosawa

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Frederick Douglass.

12. Do you have any future plans at FDR high school?

Nothing in particular. Just to keep on working with the amazing students we have here.

We all hope you continue to work and inspire the students at FDR as well! Congratulations again on being recognized as the Staffer of the Month!