Audi Hahn, Bach Elementary third grade teacher

Audi Hahn’s teaching journey began during her middle and high school years in Stratford, Connecticut, where she discovered her passion for teaching while volunteering at Sunday school. 

Following high school graduation, she attended Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, where she double majored in elementary education and special education. She later pursued a master’s degree in teaching reading at Southern Connecticut State University.

During this time, she met her husband, Eric. Together, they built their life in Connecticut, enjoying the East Coast beaches and raising their four children: Emily, Shelby, Garrett, and Trevor. 

Hahn spent 16 years teaching in Stratford and Fairfield, Connecticut.

In 2012, Eric Hahn received a job offer from Domino’s Pizza, prompting the family’s relocation to Ann Arbor. She says all four of their children thrived here, graduating from Ann Arbor Public Schools and benefiting from the exceptional educators and coaches at Skyline High School.

She taught at Haisley Elementary from 2014 until 2020. Since 2020, she has been teaching at Bach Elementary.

“Mrs. Hahn is an exceptional educator who embodies dedication, passion, and creativity in her classroom,” says Bach Principal Colette Ivey. “The way in which Mrs. Hahn fosters a love for learning in each of her students, ignites their curiosity and nurtures their individual strengths. Her genuine care and encouragement empower her students to reach their full potential. Mrs. Hahn’s commitment to her students’ success makes her a true inspiration to our school and community.”

Teacher’s Assistant Thomas Alexander has worked with Hahn for several years and says she is an “awesome” teacher.

“She’s always looking out for the kids and thinking about the kids,” he said.

“She’s amazing!” agreed third grader, Hudson. “Mrs. Hahn is the best teacher because she always thinks about us; she does read-alouds; she makes rewards for us, like if you listen. She’s just a great teacher!”

The Hahns live in Ann Arbor with their micro bernedoodle, Olaf. Her afternoons are filled with many walks with Olaf, and attending reformer pilates classes—a newfound passion she discovered just a year ago. Beyond her dedication to pilates, Hahn loves to travel, garden, and spend time with her family.

What do you enjoy most about teaching third grade?
Over my 26 years of teaching, I have taught every grade from K-5th. Third graders are amazing! They are very curious and eager to learn. They ask many questions and enjoy exploring new topics. Their curiosity drives them to engage actively in learning activities. And they are funny too!

How do you make your classroom feel welcoming and engaging, and why is it important?
It is important to me to create a welcoming and engaging classroom environment. I have many alternative seating areas and work spaces and I love to make my room colorful and inviting. I also rearrange the classroom often. Switching student desks encourages them to make connections with different classmates. I also teach the students how to weave. It’s a pretty simple process with yarn and cardboard. Weaving strengthens their fine motor skills and is a fun activity during Quiet Time—the 10 minutes after lunch when students have the opportunity to engage in calm, focused activities independently. 

What do you like about working at Bach Elementary, and Haisley before it?
Before teaching at Bach, I taught third and fourth grades at Haisley for five years. The Haisley staff is so talented! The parent community at Haisley is very supportive and working closely with their PTO was an interest of mine. I came to Bach to switch roles and use my special education background and I was a Resource Room teacher for two years. I realized I missed being in the classroom so I switched back to teaching third grade. The community at Bach is so special. The staff, parents, and students are just wonderful. Our principal, Colette Ivey, is very supportive and a great leader. I just love working at Bach!

How do you get to know your students and build relationships with them?
Responsive Classroom is an approach that I love using. It emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth and fosters positive community. I was trained in this when I taught in Connecticut and was so happy when Ann Arbor started training teachers to use it. Students thrive in classrooms where they feel valued and have a sense of belonging. Once you have a positive community with an inclusive environment, you can challenge students and have a high engagement with learning.

What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Establishing and maintaining high expectations for all students is essential. Having high expectations can signal students that a teacher believes in their abilities to succeed. When students believe they can achieve, they are more likely to put forth effort and strive for excellence in their learning. When students are challenged with high expectations, they are motivated to work harder and overcome obstacles to meet those expectations. It is also important to make learning engaging. Engagement is key to motivating students. 

What are your tips for classroom management?
Fostering a positive and inclusive classroom environment is very important to me. Students have high growth and achievement when they feel valued, respected, and safe. At the beginning of the year, I set up routines and procedures to make my classroom run efficiently. Students love routine! I also teach my students to be organized. Keeping their materials organized and building good study skills are life-long habits. 

What is the best part of your workday?
The best part of my workday is seeing the students enter the classroom in the morning. They are so enthusiastic and they look forward to reading the Morning Message to see what I have in store for them each day. 

What do you hope your students will take away from their year in your classroom?
My hope is that my students remember to put effort into everything that they do. Having a strong work ethic is a lifelong skill that is such an asset. Even with my striving learners, I try not to remove the hurdle. I teach them how to jump over the hurdle! This helps them build confidence and self-esteem.

How do you spend your summers?
 I spend most of my summer up north at Black Lake. I love to garden, read books on the dock, and relax with friends.

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