Ecstatic New ELA Teacher Comes to St. Robert

Julia Coffaro, Daily Life

Many teachers joined the St. Robert community this year. One of those teachers is Dr. Pudner. Dr. Pudner teaches 8th grade English, 7th grade Literature and Religion. She was previously a college professor at Auburn University, and her family recently moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in May of 2022. Over the summer, she was looking for the perfect school for her first grader; she was looking for a school that could provide a good education and good faith foundation, and that search led her to St. Robert! 

 

Dr. Pudner experienced a big shift from teaching college philosophy to teaching middle school English, Literature, and Religion. She says the biggest difference between teaching college to middle school has been the grading process. If college students don’t do their work, they get a 0 as their grade. College students also accumulate GPAs attached to basic letter grades: A, B, C, D, or F. Their grades are not standards-based as they are not learning to build individual skills in each class. In middle school she discusses how everything is formative throughout the learning process, and students are graded on various components of a subject. Even when students are assessed summatively, those independent skills are graded, not the overall product. If a student doesn’t do their work, they just get an infraction in middle school, but still have the chance to make up for the missed learning. 

 

Another challenging adjustment for Dr. Pudner was going from teaching just one subject to three different ones everyday. At the beginning of the year, she describes, changing subjects was like mentally changing channels. She added that it would be beneficial if there were a “passing period” for both students and teachers. This would give them time to “change materials and mentally reset” for the next class. However, at this point in the school year, Dr. Pudner says she has adapted to the change. Something that helps her through her challenges is prayers and having close access to the church. She also appreciates the middle school team, who she describes as incredibly supportive. 

 

An 8th grade student, Maribel, describes Dr. Pudner as very helpful and always willing to answer questions. Maribel also likes that Dr. Pudner is flexible about due dates of assignments if students need that extra time. Johnathan, another 8th grader, also expresses her helpfulness. He thinks it’s interesting that she used to be a college professor and chose to come work at St. Robert. Jonathan also feels that Dr. Pudner brings brightness to the school with her kind personality. 

 

Iris, a 7th grader, likes the way Dr. Pudner teaches and values the way her class is interactive and involves everyone. Dr. Pudner also helped Iris feel more comfortable as a new student. She thinks that Dr. Pudner is a supportive teacher with an uplifting personality. 

 

When asked about what she likes best about St. Robert, Dr. Pudner without hesitation said, “There’s so many things I love about being here!” Dr. Pudner loves the attention to academic excellence. She believes this kind of rigorous environment that all the staff promotes will help students be the best they can be, which will equip them well for high school. Another aspect she loves is the family atmosphere and all the support she observes within the St. Robert community. Most important though, is her witness to faith: “I love the faithfulness, and how our faith just bathes everything we do here.” At St. Robert, she found exactly what she was looking for. 

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