Breken Blackford-Hesselberg

Mrs.Kabat helping Sawyer Dannenberg

Have you ever met a teacher that loves building good connections with kids even outside of school? Well, I have, here’s what Mrs.Kabat had to say when I got to interview her.

What grades and classes do you teach? Do you enjoy it?
I teach middle school math, so seventh and eighth graders. I love my job. I love working with middle schoolers and their quirkiness. They’re a lot of fun and challenging at times, but it’s a great age group to get to know them.

What’s your favorite memory of teaching?
Last year right before Christmas break, I did a bunch of challenges for Christmas. So they got to do marshmallow activities, trying to stick marshmallows to each other faces from across the room and just some other fun activities. They also had to make reindeer stocking hats. They always enjoy good competition. So even though it’s not really math related, it’s always great to have fun in the classroom and do fun games with the kids. Makes good memories

What made you want to teach at Mineral Point? And do you like working here?
I student-taught in Mineral Point way back when I first finished my teaching degree with Mr. Chambers. My first actual teaching assignment was in Mineral Point as a student teacher under Mr. Chambers in math, which was what I emphasized when I went for teaching. I fell in love with Mineral Point when I was student teaching. When I graduated, I already had a family at that time, so I couldn’t move too far away to find a job. So Mineral Point was looking for a technology person at the time. I stepped into that role, even though it wasn’t what I went to school for. The stress of that part got to me a little bit, so I changed jobs a couple of times. Finally, I got to come back and teach math at Mineral Point. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Every time I’ve been in Mineral Point, I’ve always loved the community and loved it so much that we moved our family here. So yeah, I love the community, the district’ and all my coworkers. The students are phenomenal, and I know that from personal experience, teaching at Iowa Grant, and other places. The students here are excellent, top-notch, and have great overall behavior.

Where did you go to college? What is your favorite memory from college?
I went to college at UW Platteville. I got my first bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and played volleyball in college at Platteville. When I first went out of high school, I started coaching during college. So I knew I loved working with kids. That’s what prompted me to go back for my second bachelor’s degree in teaching. I went for middle school math as my emphasis. It took me about five years because we could only take one class at a time, but I got my masters over a period of five years while I was teaching and raising a family. Two of my degrees are from UW Platteville, and my master’s degree is from Whitewater. I don’t really have a favorite memory from college, but a crazy memory from college is when I was playing volleyball. One year we had to go to UW Superior for a volleyball tournament. On the way home, our bus broke down, and we were stuck stranded in the middle of nowhere, waiting for this other bus to come to relieve our bus driver. We didn’t get home until about three in the morning from that match, which was not much fun. But it was a fun bonding time where we just got to hang out, watch movies, and do whatever until it got there.

What’s your biggest pet peeve that students do and why?
Easy one, coming to class without a calculator. They always forget their calculator. Just coming unprepared with anything.

Why do you or what made you want to coach volleyball still?
I’ve been involved in volleyball for a long time. I started coaching while in college, right after I finished playing in college. So I’ve always been around the game, either as a head coach or an assistant coach wherever I was. I still love the game. I still love working with the girls, building those different connections with kids outside of the classroom, and seeing them from a different perspective and the skills and things they gained from sports, which are so important to their life skills. It’s a lot of fun to be around, especially the group this year. They are a lot of fun and have a lot of fun with each other. I love volleyball and love passing that love on to the kids. We’re trying to make Mineral Point more of a volleyball school. It hasn’t been for a long time, probably since Miss Dahl was coaching, and so just trying to bring that tradition back.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.