One In A Million: March 2024: Gigi Hauptman

2. OIAM 202324 (30)

Name: Gigi Hauptman

School & District: Thew, Tempe School District

Grade(s) you teach: First Grade

How many students in your class(es) this academic year? 26 students

How long have you been a teacher?

14 years in 1st Grade, all at Thew!

What made you get into the teaching profession?

My grandfather was an educator, and he was always someone I admired and idolized. Essentially, it made it easy for me to follow in his footsteps to become a teacher.

Who was your most inspirational teacher & why?

Mrs. Galbiso from Waialua Elementary in Hawaii was always an inspiration to me. She was a great teacher because she showed compassion and she made learning fun!

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers in Arizona face right now?

One of the biggest challenges teachers face in Arizona today is Lack of Discipline. Unfortunately, there’s been a trend of negative behaviors happening in schools across the country. Schools, parents and teachers need to work together to combat this issue. It makes it difficult for educators to run a classroom when there are disruptions that occur daily, especially with behaviors that are unmanageable.

How do these issues affect your day to day?

These issues affect our days significantly because when you have distractions in the classroom, it can be difficult to get 25+ students to get back on task. Trying to manage the situation separate from the students that are on task is a disruption to the flow of the day.

What does the $250 tax deduction for school supplies for teachers mean to you?

I do feel supported by my district and school, where I don’t have to purchase school supplies for my students. However, I probably spend over the tax deductions on other needs and wants for my classroom throughout the

How are the expectations of becoming a teacher different from reality?

I would say I knew teaching was going to be a challenge. In reality, I would have to say that going to school to become a teacher did not prepare me for the
challenges I face as a teacher in the real world, for example-classroom
management, lesson planning, and learning about the science of reading.

Why do you think teachers burn out so quickly?

Some people who are not in education imply that teachers have it good…we have breaks, we only work 180 days, we’re off on holidays… But in reality, we work after hours, we work on our weekends and on our breaks. Most teachers struggle to balance their work with their personal lives, which can bring on the feelings of being burnt out.

Do you typically feel appreciated or recognized as a teacher?

Sadly, probably not as often as I’d like, but this was such a sweet surprise to be nominated by a parent. I wish I could read her nomination letter. This nomination helps me to realize I’m doing something good and right that parents recognize. I appreciate it so much, especially coming from a parent.

 What “fills your cup” when you’re running on empty?

Literally Water or ice cubes, lol! But, figuratively, I relax by sitting quietly in a room and I like to reflect on my day. It also helps to have quality family time with my 4 children, husband and mom!

What are some of the most thoughtful & effective ways parents & the
community can show gratitude?

Saying thank you, or recognition, like what this organization is doing.

What is your wish for Arizona’s children?

My wish is that students have support from teachers, staff members, districts, administrations and, most importantly, their parents.

What additional support or supplies do you need in your classroom & who do people contact if they want to help out?

I am fortunate to work for a district and school that provide a lot of our needs in the classroom. If I had a wishlist I would like some funds for flexible seating, so that my students have a choice of what to sit on besides your typical classroom chair. I could also use some treasure box items for my students and any typical classroom supplies are always helpful. I would also love to take our grade level on a field trip to somewhere amazing so they can have experience outside of the classroom!

What types of items/prizes are meaningful to you to win/be gifted?

Ooh, this is a hard question to answer. I am just grateful to be nominated and recognized. With so much of my time spent making sure I’m well-prepared and planned for my students, I’d love to be able to balance that with my family. So maybe something fun to do with my family;)

What is/are your FAVORITE/PREFERRED…

  • College/University/Alma Mater? ASU
  • Color? Blush pink or black
  • Food/restaurant? Oreganos, Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
  • Music/group/artist? 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, early 2000’s
  • Sport/athletics team? Arizona Cardinals, ASU
  • Snack & Beverage? Chocolate, Starbucks, cake and ice cream
  • Pastime/hobby? Volleyball, Wordle, Arts and Crafts, home improvement
    projects, watching my kids play sports, spending time with my family
  • Do you have children/pets? I have 4 kids (Gavin, Johnny, Hannah and Hank), 3 dogs (Oreo, Curly and Bear) and a lot of fish.
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Growing the Tree

Million Dollar Teacher Tree was first developed in a classroom by students in a program called, Next Generation Service Corps at Arizona State University in December of 2017. These students were tasked by Lloyd Hopkins, founder of Million Dollar Teacher project with developing a project that can potentially become an integral part in helping MDTP achieve its mission. The group eventually developed the original prototype for Million Dollar Teacher Tree—a cutout dollar sign that would be placed in surrounding businesses near the partner school. The idea was pitched to staff members of MDTP during the last of their class, and the project was picked up by MDTP as a new pilot program for the organization. After many months of planning, the prototype was eventually revamped into what it is today, Million Dollar Teacher Tree.

Golden Apple

These apples are intended to provide any sort of Professional Development which, in turn, gifts them with key knowledge to add to their personal skill-set to better work with their students.

As educators, teachers are constantly looking to continually grow in their profession to not only learn how to better connect with their students, but to also make the learning experience much more exciting.

Suggested donation amount range: $10 – $100

Red Apple

These apples are designed to provide the typical day-to-day items in the classroom. Teachers spend can spend upwards of $1,000 out of pocket to have enough supplies yearlong for their students– to alleviate this, the Red Apples were created.

Everyday school supplies include; pencils, notebooks, crayons, hand sanitizer, etc.

Green Apple

These apples are intended to provide a big-ticket item for the teachers. These supplies are typically something that the teachers can use for more than one school year.

Examples include; a class-set of computers or new furniture for the classroom.

Suggested donation amount: $500+