Humans of RV: Mrs. Stopek

RV English teacher Mrs. Stopek talks about her path towards teaching and her favorite things at RV


Meadow Drapala

Mrs. Stopek in room A234

Ruby Levy, Student Life Writer

The Humans of RV project is a weekly column based on Brandon Stanton’s seminal “Humans of New York” project, which seeks to “catalog the city’s inhabitants” through photography and brief interviews. RV seeks to expand on this project with our own “cataloging” of RV students and an examination into all the unique perspectives here at school. 

Note: this transcript has been edited and condensed for publication purposes.


For the past nine years, I’ve been teaching English at RV.  However, prior to that, I taught history at RV. This dates all the way back to 2001. I started here at RV as a history teacher, and took some time off for my kids. Then I returned as an English teacher.

The funny thing about my journey to my career is that up until my senior year of college, I thought I was going to go to law school. However, after taking some political science courses, I started to question myself. Teaching was always in the back of my mind, but up until that point I had never thought about actually pursuing it. I then thought back to all of my amazing high school teachers and looked into programs that would get me both an education certificate and my masters degree. What made me make that final decision to go into teaching history was how I had already taken political science and history courses. It just seemed like the right fit. What made me end up switching to English was whenever I came back from my time off,  there were no history teaching jobs available for me to take. However, there were some English teaching jobs. All I had to do was go back and take some extra courses to get my English certification and after that I was all set.

What I truly love about teaching is the one-on-one conversations that I get to have with students. Conversations about life and college are what really makes teaching so special for me. After realizing how much I love one-on-one conversations with my students, it clicked to me that my dream is to be a school counselor. So once again I went back to get my masters in counseling, and soon I will be transitioning into that role, which I am very psyched for. 

I have so many good memories here at RV. But, I would have to say that one of my favorites was doing ‘Dancing with the Teachers’ which I did two times. ‘Dancing with the Teachers’ was put on by Ms. Wagner and the RV Dance Team. It was a lot of fun, especially with having the girls on the dance team actually teaching us a dance. I even remember when we would sometimes have practice in the hallways together. This one time, I had to do a partner cartwheel in one of the dances. So did the partner cartwheel in the hallway, it was so funny! All the time we spent learning the dance and staying after school, despite the difficulties, was just so much fun. When the dance was finished we would perform the dance in the PAC as a fundraiser for the Dance Team, so that the girls could get to nationals in Florida. The end results  made me so proud, it’s definitely one of the top memories I have here at RV. 

Along with ‘Dancing with the Teachers’ we also way back in the day, put on an all teacher musical here at RV. We ended up doing ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and I was Dorothy! The events that we do at the school where I can interact with my fellow staff members in a different way is just so fun. Other than those two big memories I loved chaperoning the school’s junior and senior proms. It  was nice  to see all the students dressed up and looking so amazing. Last year I got to chaperone the junior prom, and it was  refreshing after all that was happening with COVID-19 to have some normalcy. 

Overall, I love the community here at RV, it really is just one big family. It is really difficult to think of just one thing I love about this place. I am so happy that this year everything is getting back to some sort of normal. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.