Molly Hurtado, math teacher Q & A

Q: Where were you born?

A: “I was born in Hollywood, Fla. in 1967, a long time ago. I lived in Orlando until I was about seven or 8 and then we moved out west to Oregon from there.”


Q: So you’ve lived in Oregon ever since then?

A: “Ever since then, yes.”


Q: How did you become interested in teaching?

A: “I always wanted to be a teacher, but I started out wanting to be a special ed teacher. When I graduated from high school I had spent some time in the special ed classrooms, which is not exactly the same as it [is] now. It was more working with Down syndrome and kids that were confined to wheelchairs and that type of environment and so that’s what I had originally wanted to go into…And then when I went to college they told me I had to pick an academic major…at that point special ed wasn’t an academic major so I had to pick a core subject so I picked math…because it was the easiest for me in high school.”


Q: Have you always liked math?

A: No. I have not always liked math, in fact…I had to take algebra twice when I was in school…I took [it] as an eighth grader and spent a lot of time at the dinner table with my dad crying over how to do algebra, and “I already found x how come they changed it,” you know, “Why do I have to find it again? Why isn’t it the same thing as it was last time?” So no, it was not a first love of mine…it was really hard for me at first to work through it.


Q: When would you say you started liking math more?

A: “I do love it now, but…I always thought it was easier than English. I was never great at English…I was a sophomore or junior in college by the time I really began to embrace it and love it…when I was struggling though my calculus courses and finally figured out how to learn it…everything started clicking and it became much easier at that point, so I do love it now, and I do love trying to help people who had the same struggles that I had. Because I understand what you’re feeling and what you’re going through, I’ve been there and done that so I think that’s part of what makes me a good teacher is that I get why some people really have a hard time with [math] because I’ve been there.”


Q: How long have you been teaching?

A: “I started teaching in 1990…at the end of 1990 I picked up my first substitute job and then I got my first teaching assignment in ‘91, and I taught in Fairfield, Calif. for a year at a school that was big, like [West Linn High School] and it was a bedroom community essentially for San Francisco, and I was assigned to a group of students that were sophomores that they had targeted as behavior and motivation problems…they told me if I still wanted to teach after I was finished with that year then I was in the right career. It was a hard year, but I enjoyed it…it was a good experience for me. And then from there I went to Ore. and other than spending a year in Wash. when my husband was on his externship I’ve been in Klamath Falls ever since.”


Q: Did you just move to West Linn?

A: “We did just move to West Linn…[my husband] is a radiation therapist and he was hired as the chief radiation therapist for Tualatin Radian Park oncology building…and so his job brought us up here, so here I am.”


Q: Do you like [West Linn] so far?

A: “I do, I love it…it was a completely unexpected move for us, and it was hard to leave Klamath because I have lived there my whole life and my family is there…but I love the area, and I love West Linn…this has been a fabulous school…I couldn’t have picked a better one to go to, so I’m happy about that.”


Q: Do you have any outside hobbies?

A: “My outside hobbies mostly gear around my family, I have three kids…and I have forced them all through nine years of 4H…forced sometimes, they enjoyed it. We’re a big 4H family…I do a lot of cooking and sewing home-ec type projects with them, but we also have done swine and horticulture…I love to read…and I guess just chasing my kids around, it’s been so long since I’ve had free time to myself, most of my time is just spent chasing after what my kids are doing. My kids are my hobbies, that’s what I spend my extra time doing…My oldest [kid] is 23 and she just graduated from University of Oregon and my son is 21, and he is going to be transferring to University of Oregon and he’ll be a junior…and my baby is 11, and she is a sixth grader this year…We adopted the last two.”


Q: If you could say one interesting fact about yourself, what would it be?

A: “One of the most interesting things about my life has been travel. We’ve traveled quite a bit, two of my children are adopted from China and that is, I think, probably the most rich experience I’ve had…we had to travel to China to adopt them and integrating that culture into my family…we are very multicultural, my husband is hispanic and two of my children are Asian, and then there’s me who is Caucasian, kind of…a little bit of everything. So integrating that Asian culture into my family and appreciating [it] is something interesting about me.”