Interviewed by Ruby W.
Ruby: How long have you worked at Kiva?
Mrs. Kujawa: This is my 18th year at Kiva, my 21st year teaching. I taught first and second grade for 9 years each. Crazy!
Ruby: What’s your favorite color?
Mrs. Kujawa: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I have lots of favorites, but if I had to pick just one I think it would be blue. it reminds me of the ocean and the color of the sky. It’s calming, and there are so many different shades of blue.
Ruby: What did you do before you started working at Kiva?
Mrs. Kujawa: I taught for three years in the Washington School District. Before I started teaching there, I went to college for Family Studies. Then, I decided to go back to get my Post Baccalaureate in Early Education. While I was working on that, I was a substitute teacher.
Ruby: What’s your favorite candy?
Mrs. Kujawa: I absolutely love dark chocolate, especially with sea salt. But, I also love what’s called German Raspberries. Have you ever tried those? They’re red and black with jelly on the inside, with little candy sprinkles all over them. PURE SUGAR, and SO YUMMY.
Ruby: What is the kindest thing you’ve seen happen at Kiva?
Mrs. Kujawa: The good news is, because we are such a kind campus I see kindness every single day. I think the thing I like seeing the most is when one of my students goes out of their way to help someone else without being asked. They're always holding the door for other students or teachers, or picking up papers if they see someone drop them. We are lucky to have such a great, caring group of students here!
Ruby: What’s your favorite holiday?
Mrs. Kujawa: I LOVE Christmas. I think I love it so much because it’s cold, and I love wearing sweaters and soft warm clothes, and snuggling under blankets. I love waking up in my jammies and sitting with a hot cup of cocoa, and watching my daughter’s happy face when she’s opening presents. I also love that everyone is in a giving and caring mood. People tend to be happy and jolly around Christmas!
Ruby: Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school, and why?
Mrs. Kujawa: It just happened to be Mrs. Kenesky who was my second grade teacher, and I absolutely adored her because she let me be her helper all the time. I lived down the street from my elementary school, and I could stay after school and help her grade papers and set up her bulletin boards. And she always let me have one lemon drop before I went on my way. Maybe that’s where my love of teaching second grade started!
Ruby: If you could only teach about one thing, what would it be and why?
Mrs. Kujawa: Hmmm. I don’t know. I love all of the subjects, but I would have to say math because it’s so fun to see that light bulb expression when a student ‘gets it’. Plus, I love that you can justify your answers in math. There’s an aspect of reasoning and deep thinking that I just appreciate so much. I would also like to teach about problem solving and being kind. What to do when you have a conflict that needs solving.
Ruby: What’s your favorite part about teaching second grade?
Mrs. Kujawa: I love second graders because when they start, they can do SO MUCH. They still love their teachers and they still want to please, they still believe in all of the fun things we do, but yet they start to become so independent. Second graders are ready to accomplish so much, but still love to have a good time!
Ruby: What was your favorite book growing up, and why?
Mrs. Kujawa: I love The Giving Tree. I could read that one a hundred times. But, I also loved reading Where the Red Fern Grows in Middle School. And, To Kill a Mockingbird. That book holds such a good lesson about tolerance and kindness.
Ruby: Use one word to describe Kiva.
Mrs. Kujawa: I think ‘Family’. I think that a lot of families stay at Kiva because of the sense of comfort they have in knowing that our teachers stick around, and the families stick around. It’s sort of an extension of home. We all care so much about each other, it’s like a second family.
Ruby: What is your favorite smell of all time?
Mrs. Kujawa: I love the smell of pine. And, pumpkin. Especially pumpkin bread. Both of those smells go so well with my favorite holiday. : )
Ruby: Who is your favorite student? *Tee Hee Hee*
Mrs. Kujawa: HA! Well, Ruby... I don’t have favorites. I love all of my students for different reasons. I have favorites that go above and beyond every day. I have favorites that tell jokes and make me laugh. I have students that give great hugs. Every single one of my students is my favorite!
Ruby: What do you like to do in your free time?
Mrs. Kujawa: I love going to the movies, which I don’t get to do very often. There’s something special about escaping into another world in that big dark theater. And, of course… the popcorn!
Ruby: What’s your favorite movie?
Mrs. Kujawa: I like sappy romantic movies, so probably, The Notebook. I just love the thought of the couple growing old together.
Ruby: If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
Mrs. Kujawa: Hmmm, I don’t know. That’s a good question! We’re talking right now about Westward Expansion, I bet that would be really cool to be one of the first pioneers traveling West in a covered wagon. It would be hard, but so exciting! I also loved growing up, and the simplicity of the way things were when I was young. We would all just run around barefoot after school, climbing trees and being free, we just knew to be home before sunset. It was so easy and simple, so maybe I'd time travel back to my childhood days.
Ruby: What would you do if you were invisible for one day?
Mrs. Kujawa: I would love to just pop in and out of my co-workers classrooms, but not disrupt anyone. It would be fun to be a fly on the wall in other classrooms here! I could learn lots of new tricks from all of the great teachers we have here at Kiva.
Ruby: What’s your favorite word?
Mrs. Kujawa: I love the word 'Sparkle'. When you think of that word, it just brings a smile to your face! Plus, I try to sparkle every day in some way or another!
Ruby: What do you think the secret to a good life is?
Mrs. Kujawa: I think it’s to find something you’re passionate about, and just do it. For me, that’s teaching. I think it's so important to love everything that you do, and the people around you. I love to have dance parties in my class. It’s so fun to just let go and be silly. To smile, have fun, and like Ellen says ‘just dance'.