Mary Hathaway has been a part of the local community since she was young, and has been a part of Stephen Decatur High School for 11 years as a history teacher.
She teaches standard World History and Advanced Placement World History, both of which she enjoys.
“Depth is the difference between those two classes. I teach AP year-round so we go way deeper into the content than standard history courses. With a smaller class, we kind of become a family. We struggle together, we survive together, and we succeed together,” she said. “I also like teaching the standard course because I get to reach a different population that might not be as interested in history.”
Hathaway said the most rewarding part of her job are the relationships that she builds with her students, and the conversations she has with them. She tries to foster an environment of trust, acceptance, and flexibility in her classroom everyday.
“If you present your most authentic self, people will eventually come to trust you. You only develop these relationships naturally and with time,” she said.
A Berlin native, Hathaway graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2007 before leaving to attend the University of Massachusetts. After returning to Maryland, she transferred to Salisbury University.
Hathaway said she’d always wanted to become a teacher since she was young, and was interested in both history and economics, the latter of which she studied in college. She had planned to enter a career in business, but decided to become a teacher instead. In 2011, she began her career as a history teacher at 22 years old.
She said her inspiration for teaching comes from a professor at Salisbury University who completely changed her worldview.
“His name was Dr. King, coincidentally,” she said. “I was able to do a study abroad with him in West Africa, and he opened my eyes to a world that existed beyond my own experiences. I want to have that kind of impact on my own students.”
She describes her own teaching as “rigor with compassion,” making sure that her students learn the content, but also engaging them with the lesson. Instead of tests, Hathaway assigns project-based assessments that she believes will better prepare them for their futures.
Outside of school, her hobbies include live music and boating, as well as spending time with her 3-year-old daughter.
“I love music, and I love being on my boat. My family and friends are super important to me, especially my daughter. She is my world and I am going to give her every opportunity in life that I can,” she said.
Every day, Hathaway works to make sure that her students are prepared for the world they are about to enter, and wishes for them to graduate having remembered at least one thing she taught them.
“I hope that everyday, I make an impact on at least one person’s life,” she said.