When she was in high school, Brianna Hosch volunteered at her local Vacation Bible School and realized that she loved working with children. She decided she wanted to go to school to become a teacher, poured herself into pursuing that dream and never looked back.
Now Hosch, who some of her students may know by her maiden name as Ms. Baker, is the Exceptional Children Lead Teacher at Riverview Elementary School, is in her 11th year of teaching and has been named as Riverview’s teacher of the year for the 2022-23 school year.
Hosch said that, while she was in college studying to be a teacher, she realized that she was called to teach some of the most special children who may need a little extra help in their studies.
“I just knew that that was my calling,” Hosch said. “In my junior and senior year when I was going through my student teaching, I just really enjoyed the placements that were special education, so that was really what led me to realize I wanted to teach in special education.”
Hosch has been at Riverview for eight of her 11 years teaching and teaches in the district’s CBI, or community based instruction, program. She has taught all levels of students from kindergarten through fifth grade, and this year she is teaching a class of students in kindergarten and first grade in a self-contained classroom.
One of her favorite things about teaching, Hosch said, is getting to know her students and their families.
“I love building the relationships with the kids and the families because we get to know the parents and the families very well, so I do love having that partnership with them and getting to know them,” Hosch said.
In her classroom, Hosch teaches by the philosophy that “all students can learn” and encourages each of her students to learn all they can at the pace that works best for them.
“I believe that all students can learn – no matter what they may be facing, they all can learn to their ability and at their own pace,” Hosch said. “I believe in making my students as independent as possible and just really holding them to the standard that they can learn, I just have to figure out where their max is and try to get them there.”
While her classroom can sometimes run at a slightly different pace than others, Hosch said that it’s incredibly rewarding at the end of each year to look back at everything each of her students have accomplished.
“We definitely make progress, it’s just sometimes it’s at a different pace, so really just seeing where they are at the beginning of the year and then reflecting back at the end of the year… I love seeing the growth that they have made in that school year,” Hosch said. "By the end of the year, seeing them be able to write their name or do things more independently just makes my heart so happy; it’s very rewarding.”
Hosch was announced as Riverview’s 2022-23 Teacher of the Year during one of the school’s post-planning days at the end of the 2021-22 school year, right before the teachers got out for the summer. She said that she was very surprised and humbled to learn that she had been selected by her peers for the honor.
“I was shocked; there are so many amazing teachers and I didn’t see myself worthy of it because I’m just a teacher,” Hosch said. “But it was a great feeling; my (at the time) fiancé was there and my parents, so it was a really sweet moment.”
Over the years, several teachers in the CBI program at different schools have received the title of teacher of the year, including this year’s teacher of the year for Dawson County High School and for the district, Ashley Caray. Hosch said that, in order for the CBI program to work as well as it does, she and the teachers in all grade levels work together towards the ultimate goal of helping their students become working members of the community.
“I’m at the very beginning and Ashley is at the very end when they kind of transition to work-based learning; so it’s really cool to see how far they go and I love it,” Hosch said. “Our goal for them is to be as independent as they can possibly be; and what that looks like is different for every child so we’re teaching the basics, working on academics and independence, and as they get older they can go different pathways.”
Hosch said that, as she moves forward in this school year and future years of teaching, being selected as her school’s teacher of the year is a huge encouragement and an assurance that she must be doing something right.
“Last year was a challenging year for me and I did not feel worthy; I was pouring my heart out last year and feeling like maybe I wasn’t doing enough or making a difference,” Hosch said. “So it’s definitely very encouraging; I was super honored to be chosen and to know that people think so highly of me.”