By: Jesse Boxenhorn
Mrs. Rubin, a ninth-grade history teacher at High School East, said her final goodbyes after teaching at the school for 15 and a half years. I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Rubin as a teacher in my freshman year and couldn’t be more grateful. Not only is she an incredible teacher, but she is also an amazing person inside and out. In an interview, she told me all about her journey to High School East and the unfamiliar traits present in her personality.
She says that she always loved history and knew that it would have a place in her heart forever. While attending the University of Madison – Wisconsin, she says she had an amazing experience within the history department as it was and still is one of the best. She didn’t originally think she was going to be a history teacher until her last year in college, where she had an internship in NYC at a high school in the Bronx and loved the environment. She then knew she wanted to teach at a public suburban high school, like HSE. Mrs. Rubin not only loves to teach history, but she also loves to be a part of it. She told me that she has always been a feminist and started being an activist in high school during the Vietnam War. She took part in marches and rallies similar to that of today’s age. She talks about how hard it was for some of her older friends to obtain an abortion before Roe V. Wade and how seeing them struggle was saddening. She now encourages students to challenge expectations and explore politics, global warming, gender issues, and more.
Another interesting thing to know about Mrs. Rubin is that she is an incredible cook and even worked in the food industry for quite sometime before teaching. After all of the challenges with food advertisements, she decided to leave that industry and become the teacher we know her as today. When asking Mrs. Rubin to open up about her biggest challenge in life, she shared that it was the death of her husband in 2011. She says it was a big challenge trying to reestablish a new identity without a partner while helping her children through this horrific loss at such a young age. Her children, Sylvia and Adena, were both very close with their father and had a hard time coping with the loss. Mrs. Rubin was determined to give her children the best life she could by providing them with an excellent education. Her children grew up strong as a result and went on to attend Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Not only did she provide her own children with an incredible education, but she provided the students of HSE with one as well.
When asking her what her biggest success was she said teaching students to be aware of the perspectives within history and how history is not always about the people on top; it’s about the people within the armies, getting their hands dirty and willing to fight for a cause. She hopes that she leaves High School East encouraging her students to question history and wanting to know more. Upon retirement, she plans to go back to her love of cooking and the food industry working part-time at her local fish store. She also plans to work on the presidential campaign of Elizabeth Warren. I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors as she offered well wishes for the rest of the HHH community. She finished our interview by saying, “Thank you HSE for teaching me how to be the best teacher I can be.”
Photo courtesy of Joanne Rubin