Tradition of teaching

Teaching runs deep in Hannah Moore’s family. Her mother, aunt, cousins, grandmother and grandfather all became teachers.

Now she is part of that long line of teachers, representing the next generation.

Moore, 23, graduated in May from the University of Indianapolis. She landed her first job in the education field as a fourth-grade teacher at Columbus Signature Academy — Lincoln Campus — the same school where both her mother and aunt first started.

Moore’s mother, Polly Major, and aunt, Jill Major, still work for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. as elementary school teachers. Polly is a second-grade teacher at Southside and Jill — Polly’s sister-in-law — is a third-grade teacher at Smith.

Years ago, Moore’s grandparents, Jim and Carolyn Major, taught in Bartholomew Consolidated. Hannah’s father, John, even taught in the school district for a year.

Growing up in Columbus in such a strong teaching environment, Moore decided to become a teacher at a young age. First she pretended to be a teacher.

“I always forced my siblings to play school so that I could be the teacher,” Moore said.

However, spending a lot of time with her mom in her classroom during the summer, helping Polly Major get ready for the school year, gave her added perspective on the career field her mother and other relatives had chosen.

“Watching them love what they do made me want to do the same thing,” Moore said.

The teachers Moore had in class further stoked the dream that has since become a reality.

“I could always tell that my teachers loved teaching,” she said.

Polly Major said that when she was in elementary school she was asked to draw what she wanted to be when she grew up. She drew a teacher.

“As long as I can remember it is what I wanted to do,” she said.

Polly Major said she was happy when she learned her daughter wanted to become an elementary school teacher, too.

“I told her if you are passionate about what you do and enjoy it, it won’t feel like a job,” Polly Major said.

Jill Major took a slightly different route to teaching. She earned a degree in retail management from Purdue University. Later, after having her third son, she became a stay-at-home mother. But she began substitute teaching when son Ben was in kindergarten.

“I fell in love with working in the classrooms with kids. I decided next year to go back to school and get my teaching license,” Jill Major said.

She enrolled in a transition to teaching program at IUPUC in 2009 and got her teaching license in 2012.

Moore, her mother and aunt all expressed happiness with their jobs and agreed that the best thing about teaching elementary school is the students. A rewarding atmosphere in which learn from and about their students, and their students, in turn, learn from their teachers is important, they said.

“It is awesome to see students grow in knowledge and confidence,” Moore said.

“It’s exciting to watch them get excited about learning and love coming to school,” Polly Major said.

“I enjoy getting to know each and every one of them and establishing a relationship with my students and their families. It is also very rewarding to help my students to learn and grow and see that growth and maturity over the course of a year,” Jill Major said.

Out of the classroom, the family members tend to “talk shop,” often discussing their students and classrooms, comparing notes and offering advice.

Polly Major, a 27-year veteran of teaching, said the ongoing challenge for all educators is staying on top of the ever-changing trends, practices, technology and ideas to best help children learn.

Moore said she has been learning how to manage her time effectively to fit in all six subjects: English/language arts, math, science, health, social studies and writing.

“But teaching is about being flexible,” Moore said.

So she adjusts her day accordingly when her lesson plans don’t end precisely how she planned them.

While they share common challenges, they also share a common bond of what motivates them to teach.

“It is great when you can get up every morning and go to a job you love,” Polly Major said.

Hannah Moore

Age: 23

High school: Columbus East

College: University of Indianapolis

Married: No

Children: None

Has been teaching for: less than one year

Hobbies: Baking, crafting and cheerleading.

Polly Major

Age: 51

High school: Columbus North

College: Ball State Univeristy

Family: Husband, John Major; children, Tyson, Hannah, McKenna and Harry

Has been teaching for: 27 years

Interests: Attending her youngest son Harry’s and youngest daughter McKenna’s sporting events.

Jill Major

Age: 47

High School: Columbus East

College: Purdue University (retail management), then IUPUC for transition to teaching program to earn teaching license

Family: Husband, Mark Major; children, Luke, Josh and Ben

Number of years teaching: 5

Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, reading, spending time with friends, attending all of her boys’ activities

Author photo
Kaitlyn Evener is an editorial assistant for The Republic. She can be reached at or 812-379-5633.