Hannah Bires was in second grade when she first drew a portrait of herself returning to her school as a teacher.
She would read her homework out loud to her dolls after school. She loved getting to write on the white board — especially to diagram sentences. As she grew up, she would play school with her younger brother, Micah.
Bires, 23, began her first year as a teacher this fall at Providence Christian School — the same school she attended growing up, and the same school where her mother, Suzann Bires, has taught for the last 17 years.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Hannah said. “Everything is still pretty much the same. Today I found my old history book from when I took this class with my name and notes in it.”
Providence is a small Christian school that uses classical teaching methods and reading materials to teach critical thinking skills to students in pre-K through eighth grade. Hannah teaches history to seventh and eighth graders.
“History is her thing. She can talk it. Middle school is perfect for her,” Suzann said.
Suzann teaches first grade, which is called class one at Providence. She taught preschool for her first 14 years at the school.
Hannah likes focusing on reading and comprehension, rather than building a curriculum around a set of generic requirements. Suzann says by the end of the year, some of her students, who are mostly 7 years old, can do long division.
Hannah got her degree in education from Texas A&M and student-taught history for sixth and seventh graders in Katy. After graduating, she worked for a year at a publishing company before applying to be a teacher at Providence. She knew she wanted to teach at a classical Christian school.
“I think the classic stuff just works; there’s a reason it stuck around so long,” Hannah said. “I’ve seen it work on myself and my friends.”
The weirdest part for Hannah is calling her old teachers by their first names. She says she’ll never be able to do it. Hannah was still a student at Providence when her students were starting preschool with her mom.
Despite the six-year difference between their students’ ages, Suzann says first graders and middle schoolers are pretty similar, and both Hannah and Suzann enjoy being around their kids.
“I genuinely have fun with them,” Hannah said. “I think we share that.”