Published : Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 2:34 PM
Dr. Caroline Harris, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy social studies teacher, believes the all-girls environment at FSHA provides her students with a feeling of freedom they wouldn’t have in a co-ed school. “Statistics and my own experience have shown that in co-ed environments female students participate less and that this effects their learning, their grades, and their self-image. To watch young women be brilliant, curious, enthusiastic, hilarious, and unbridled in a learning environment is such a joy both as a teacher and as a woman,” said Dr. Harris.
What is your role at FSHA?
Social Studies teacher
What do your students call you?
I actually tell my students at the beginning of the year that I go by Dr. Harris, not because I prefer an elite or formal title, but because our social perceptions are still that a person with a doctorate is male. Students can help me subvert those assumptions every time they refer to me as Dr. Harris!
What made you want to work at FSHA?
One of the benefits of my work as an adjunct professor was that I had the opportunity to teach at five different institutions before FSHA. Through that experience, I learned a lot about what makes a good fit. Once I witnessed FSHA’s warm, collegial environment, its embrace of creativity and risk-taking in the classroom, and its deeply-rooted values, I knew it was a happy match.
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?
Completing my dissertation weeks before I gave birth to my son. It was like giving birth twice!
What has been your favorite teaching moment at FSHA?
I love the moments of laughter. It signals to me that we (students, faculty, staff) are comfortable being ourselves here. Research shows that students need to be that comfortable in the classroom in order to learn, so I delight in those moments.
What do you love about the all-girls environment at FSHA?
I have only been here since the start of the school year, but I am already so impressed with the freedom my students feel in the classroom. Statistics and my own experience have shown that in co-ed environments female students participate less and that this effects their learning, their grades, and their self-image. To watch young women be brilliant, curious, enthusiastic, hilarious, and unbridled in a learning environment is such a joy both as a teacher and as a woman.
When not in the classroom/office, where can you be found?
I spend a lot of time with my son and my husband. You can find us at all the favorite toddler spots: the zoo, the playground, toddler soccer practice (which is pretty adorable/hilarious to watch). I’ve always loved travel and exploring new places, and having a toddler has helped me to see how much there is to explore and discover without traveling very far.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org.