Mrs. Franzen “Graudates” to Upper School Social Studies Department

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Leah Klein, Staff Writer

Previous eighth grade students at The Benjamin School will be seeing a familiar face if they are taking AP History this year! Mrs. Anne Franzen, former Chair of the History department in the Middle School, has moved up to the Upper School to teach classes there.

Franzen originally started teaching at Benjamin in 2014. She was excited to move from the public school environment in which she initially taught to an independent school environment. Franzen attended independent schools for her own education, and she loved what they had to offer students. Franzen has had two daughters who have previously graduated from Benjamin, and has more children who attend the school.

Following that pattern, Mrs. Franzen has two daughters that graduated from Benjamin and has two sons that will attend Benjamin as sophomores this year.   

After teaching World History in eighth grade for seven years, Franzen pursued the opportunity to move to teaching at the Upper School instead. This year she will be teaching AP World History, AP Psychology, and government. “I am in the process of finishing my masters degree in World War II history, and I wanted the opportunity to teach more about that subject matter. I am especially excited about applying the courses I’ve taken on human behavior to AP psychology,” said Franzen.

Ms. Sara Misselhorn, Chair of the History Department, is delighted to welcome Mrs. Franzen into the Upper School faculty. “We are fortunate to have Mrs. Franzen in the Upper School as she, like all members of the social studies department, possesses high intelligence, a willingness to contribute to the school community, knowledge and implementation of varied teaching strategies, and a passion for the subject,” she stated. 

“All three classes are social sciences, so they include human behavior, responsible citizenship, and choices made by individuals throughout history,” said Franzen.

With moving campuses comes change. Mrs. Franzen will experience multiple changes from moving from the Middle School to the Upper School.

“One thing I will need to get used to is moving classrooms – I think I’m teaching out of three different rooms. In addition, every division at our school has subtle differences – for example, upper school students are allowed to have cell phones, so I could use them in instruction,” Franzen said. 

Additionally, Ms. Misselhorn believes that teaching at the Upper School will allow Mrs. Franzen to “Teaching at the Upper School will allow her to dive into content and skills with more depth.”

Freshman Hanna Soffan enjoyed having Mrs. Franzen as her advisor last year.

“Even though for most of my eighth grade year I was online, Mrs. Franzen was my advisor and made sure I felt included in my advisory. I’m really happy she’s going to be at the high school so I can see her again!”

Similarly, freshman Darrow Becker said, “Mrs. Franzen helped me improve as a student by testing my study habits and teaching me new ways to cover material efficiently. My favorite topic covered in 8th grade history Ancient Rome because learning about different forms of government and origins is fascinating.”

Franzen has set various goals for the upcoming year. This year will certainly be full of change and opportunities as Benjamin lifts restrictions on Covid-19 protocols.

“I have so many [goals],” Franzen said. “My first should be to slow down and look around!  I really liked what Mr. Carr said at the 8th grade promotion ceremony – he asked us to jump right in because we are needed, so I know I will jump in! I want to make sure I set the right tone in my classes – that I create an environment where students feel heard and understood. I want students to feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them, and I want to help all students grow their intellectual curiosity. All Benjamin students are brilliant and talented, and I feel so grateful to be a part of their educational journey.”

Even though this new job is an exciting opportunity for Franzen, she will still miss several things about teaching eighth grade.

“I think I will miss a lot of things. I loved teaching the entire grade (grade 8) because it gave me the opportunity to build relationships with all the students. I will also miss taking the 8th grade to Washington, DC,” said Franzen.

Mrs. Franzen is excited for new beginnings and extensive opportunities at the Benjamin Upper School. She looks forward to meeting her new students, or seeing her previous ones!