Our interview with Emily was a reminder to me that teachers build relationships with generations within families. It’s one of the things that makes teachers special. Emily has taught kids that now teach and taught the parents of students she has now.
In many ways, teachers are a common thread within communities. That’s making a generational impact.
Emily teaches Family & Consumer Sciences at Bragg Middle School.
Treye Hanner: Tell us a little about you and how you decided to become a teacher.
Emily Cazola: I spent my childhood pretending to be a teacher. My grandmother was an English teacher and I loved being in her classroom. The only other job I thought I would like was an airline stewardess, but teaching seemed a little more suitable if I wanted a family and to be at home for my children!
I have been married to Jim Cazola for almost 28 years. We have three boys, Caleb, Dawson, and Eli Cazola. I feel like teaching was just my calling. I taught at Snow Rogers for 11 years, English in 6th grade at Bragg for 7 years, and for the past 9 years I have been teaching Family & Consumer Science at Bragg Middle School. I stay pretty busy and enjoy coaching bowling and tennis. I am the yearbook sponsor, FCCLA adviser and co-sponsor the drama team, so there is never a boring day!
Treye Hanner: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?
Emily Cazola: I love getting to know kids and pointing out their gifts to them. Each child is unique and has a gift to offer to the world. Sometimes they have people in their lives pointing that out to them and sometimes they do not. I am now teaching with kids that I taught and teaching students that I taught their parents! Nothing makes me happier than seeing kids as adults and knowing I had a small part in helping them become who they are today. Middle school is a hard age, so I enjoy helping kids through the most challenging school years.
Treye Hanner: What challenges have you experienced while having to teach through the pandemic?
Emily Cazola: I teach FACS (Family and Consumer Science) formerly known as Home Economics. My curriculum is based on hands-on skills like cooking and sewing, decision making, communication skills, and introduction of college and career paths. These life skills are very difficult to teach through a computer. I need to see kids and I feel like they need to see each other. Kids learn from each other, and kids like to help each other, so the pandemic was a very challenging time, but we made it through!
Treye Hanner: Are there special moments where you say to yourself “This is why I teach.”
Emily Cazola: Yes! I think every teacher has those rewarding moments. Those are the moments where you think you can’t imagine doing anything else. I have some notes hanging behind my desk that remind me I am teaching skills that kids can use one day. I have a lot of stories, but one that comes to mind is the note one kid wrote that he had hemmed his brother’s baseball pants. It just makes the heart feel good!
Treye Hanner: What is one thing you would like people to know about teachers?
Emily Cazola: Most people may not know this, but teachers are really never off the clock. If you get one thing checked off your list there are five more added quickly! Teachers have a lot to juggle. Ultimately, I have to remember my job is to teach and sometimes the list just keeps growing, but eventually it seems to all get done.