In this issue’s recurring segment that gives students an opportunity to learn more about the teachers they see every day, staffer Summer Kauffman interviews 9th grade Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), English General Paper teacher Holiday Samabaly.


1- What is the best aspect of teaching? 

I love teaching because I feel like I am making a difference as cliche as that sounds. I also love learning. I would be a student forever if I could. Being a teacher allows me to always be a learner because I am constantly learning from the students, faculty and staff around me. 


2- Why did you choose to teach at the Bay? 

The Bay is a pretty sick place! (Sick meaning good.) Honestly, I knew nothing about the schools in Florida and had no clue what I was getting myself into. I have a dear friend who teaches at an elementary school in Broward county. I told her about the English openings before the career fair, and she told me who I should meet with first. Cypress Bay was number one on her list. As soon as I got into the room, I tried to find the CB table, but I was asked to be interviewed by other principals. I didn’t want to be rude, so I took the time to be interviewed by them. I thought the job at CB would be gone by the time I got there, but it wasn’t! There was a lot of good energy in the interview, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of the Bay family! 


3- What advice would you provide to incoming AICE General Paper students? 

They need to come with an open mind. That is the most important because we discuss current events and different perspectives. 


4- Do you have a teaching philosophy, if so , what is it? 

I actually have several teaching philosophies. The one I tell my students the most is that it’s not it’s not about when you learn it, it’s that you learn it. Obviously, this is a very difficult philosophy to enact as a teacher due to education depending so much on deadlines and a grade-based system.


5- If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why? 

My family and I moved from Minnesota for my daughters. They play tennis here in Florida and are pretty good. For their graduating class in the state of Florida one of my daughters is ranked number two and the other is number ten. To emphasize how good Florida is, my daughter that is ranked number two is also ranked number three in the nation. This means that they both can pretty much get a full scholarship to any school they want, but they are still just 11 years old and we will see what the future holds. There is no better place to be for tennis than South Florida, the tennis capital of the world! However, it would be cool to retire somewhere along the French Riviera, the Mediteranian coast of southeastern France.


6- What’s your life motto? 

Life doesn’t last forever and it’s so difficult to live in the moment. We often wish for something to come sooner, but as a more mature person I have realized that I often long for those moments again. Being present is my motto, even in the good and bad moments, it’s so important because they don’t last forever. 


7- With Valentine’s Day coming up, would you say that it’s your favorite holiday? 

I am my favorite holiday because my name is Holiday! Named after Billie Holiday. If you know, you know. 


8- What are your thoughts on virtual school? 

I love virtual learning. Before I became a teacher, I created an online curriculum for an airline. We would use it to get our ground operations trained in different parts of the country and world to meet FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations. We would charter flights for NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) tournaments, bowl games and even former president’s, I cannot disclose which former presidents, foundation flights to places in Africa. We needed the people there to know how to service our aircrafts. Virtual learning was the only way to do that. Also, my daughters are online learners because they are at a tennis academy all day. It has been a great experience for them. However, this is due to years of research to perfect a virtual curriculum from some of the brightest minds in technology and education. 

If you’re going to do virtual learning, you’ve got to do it right. Copying and pasting traditional learning onto a virtual platform is like starting with oranges and expecting apple juice. 


9- Do you prefer in school learning or virtual learning? 

There are things I really love about both outlets of learning. What is exciting is that we have been able to advance the conversation about what works for our youth’s education. That is a conversation that has long been needed! I am hoping that we as a nation take this opportunity to reinvent the traditional learning models to help all kids and create more pathways for success. Maybe even redefining what success means would be helpful.