The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum


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Amanda Minoff Shares Balancing Teaching, College Counseling Work, Personal Life

Minoff utilizes music for education, relaxation
Bernadette Whitely
Sharing what she loves about teaching, Minoff says, “I just love hearing the students’ interpretations of texts. Students will always point out things that I missed even if I am teaching a book that I have taught before or read several times. I think it is so cool to be able to teach the same text over and over again and be able to see new things each time.”

Amanda Minoff is new to the community this year and has taken to her busy work schedule quickly. Minoff teaches one section of sophomore American Literature and two sections of an English elective for juniors, Literature of Reconciliation. In addition to these classes, she serves as the college counseling liaison working with seniors on the college essay writing process. Minoff reflects on her time thus far, stating, “It has been really cool to get to work with so many different grade levels and to see writing at different steps in your process as students has been interesting to me and really helpful for me as a teacher. So I have really loved everything so far… it has just been really cool to work with students on lots of different genres of writing and kind of see what your experience at Blake has been like as writers and readers.” 

Despite thoroughly enjoying her work, teaching three sections of English and working with seniors on college essays can be difficult to balance. “It has been challenging because I want to give as much time as possible to students so it has been a real exercise in time management and setting my own boundaries and expectations and making those clear to the students because I don’t want to offer more than I can physically take on.”

She goes on and explains that once the first college application deadline passed on Nov. 1, some of the work has calmed down. Describing balancing work with seniors and her English classes, Minoff shares, “October was a little bit crazy so I have definitely learned a lot through the process of what works well for me, how much time I can reasonably dedicate to each student, how to keep that balance of making myself available for students in the classes and also making myself available for seniors so it is an ongoing process but I have learned a lot just by doing.” 

Minoff’s hectic and busy schedule has reaffirmed the importance of maintaining activities outside of school that allows her to relax, come to school feeling energized, and return as her best self. “I would say my hobbies and destress activities are like anything a 75-year-old woman would do. So cooking, knitting, reading, going for long walks. I highly recommend walking around Lake Harriet while listening to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ album, I would say that is a great prescription for destressing and getting into all of your feelings.” 

Minoff explains that “the work we have as teachers is very permeable” and as result, she has been focusing on setting boundaries between school and personal life. However, this can be difficult as she shares, “While work and life balance is important, I am also someone who likes to talk about work in my real life and have that influence my teaching so even when I am talking to my friends about teaching, about the books we are reading, that also functions as a way to destress even though I am bringing stuff from school into my personal life, I am someone who kind of likes to mix my work with what I am interested in as a person.” 

In addition to music in her personal life as a way to relax, Minoff also shares that, “I really enjoy bringing music into the classroom. Music is really important to me in terms of my own destress methods but I also am always thinking when I am listening to music or looking at art like what are the connections that I might be able to bring into class. So how can I expand students’ ideas of what a text is that isn’t always just a piece of literature that you are looking at in class. We can also make connections to other forms of art or current events or everything else going on in the world that we find interesting.”

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About the Contributor
Bernadette Whitely
Bernadette Whitely, Editor-in-Chief | Creative Director | In-Depth Editor
Hey, I’m Bernadette and I’m a senior! I'm the Editor-in-Chief and the Creative Director of The Spectrum. I also edit In-Depth pages. In the past, I have edited both Arts and Culture and Opinions sections. Last semester, I was the editor and leader for the Features section. I started Spectrum at the beginning of my freshman year and continued to be a staff writer until the end of my sophomore year. During my time as a staff writer, I wrote articles, created graphics, and took photos. Since starting Spectrum, I have always loved it. Being able to write about topics I am passionate about and interested in was an amazing experience. One of my favorite things about Spectrum is talking to and meeting new people through interviews and collaborations. 

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