Ms. Champagne’s Teacher Profile

Jaya Vaidhyanathan, Staff Writer

With school back in person, Charlottesville High School has several new faces around the halls that are excited and dedicated to getting to know and educate students. One of the new teachers this year is Ms. Sophia Champagne. Ms. Champagne is a new teacher, coming from Louisiana, outside of Baton Rouge. Champagne teaches 11th grade English in addition to 12th grade English students. To get to know Ms. Champagne better, I sat down with her to talk about her influences in her career. With a cheerful demeanor, Ms. Champagne explains her mother was a teacher when she was growing up, as she mentions her as one of her biggest influences. 

When questioned deeper on her mothers influence on her teaching career, Champagne says, “She put in so much work, and I was like wow, that’s a lot of work, and she obviously didn’t have a lot of time with us. But I didn’t really appreciate that until I started looking at my options. I thought I wanted to be a doctor and then I realized science was not my thing, so then I really started enjoying my literature classes.  I think my love for English combined with my own experience in high school drove me to want to teach.”

Ms. Champagne went to an all-girls catholic private school in Louisiana and then went on to attend Louisiana State University (L.S.U.) for her bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in secondary education. She  then continued her education at L.S.U. for a master’s degree in educational leadership. During the interview, she expressed how excited she was to be teaching at a public school, especially a school like C.H.S. “I think what sold me on C.H.S was the sense of community and also the idea that every student should have every possible avenue to success. Whatever it is that they need, we give it to them, and I think that mentality is what brought me here.”

“My first two years teaching, I taught in private schools, and I really wanted to get into public schools. I just love the concept of public schools and where I was before and where I am now, you have kids from all walks of life coming together and I think that is what a school should be. It should prepare you for the real world, and so you guys [students] are really getting a real-world experience” she continued.

Champagne explained her teaching philosophy by saying, “One of my friends is an elementary principal in a school outside of Baton Rouge and his big thing is: are you teaching math or are you teaching Matthew. It is the idea of are you teaching content or are you teaching children. So for me, I think hearing him say that made me think, am I teaching English or am I teaching the student?. I think you have to differentiate between the two because you want to teach the child, of course, the content matters, but at the end of the day, you want the kid to benefit. I also think it is super important to have a relationship with your students because they are not going to open up to you and they are not going to work with you until you make them feel comfortable.”

 She explained, “I really try to form a relationship with kids and get to know their interests like what they do outside of school just because I think if you show students that you care about them, they will be willing to do whatever they need to do to get through the class.”

When asked who  the person in her life that influenced her the most was, Ms. Champagne vocalyzed, “I had a student who basically was like, “I am not gonna do well in school, like I am not gonna graduate”, and continued, “to fail my class but somehow passed the AP test”, she explained. “He was super smart but super unmotivated and seeing him walk across the stage made me realize, as an educator, that it is possible. You know you can get a kid from point A where they are doing nothing to everything that they ever needed and I think that was definitely my most inspiring experience.”

Ms. Champagne’s positivity and commitment to her students is inspiring and if you would like to get to know more about Ms. Champagne visit her in classroom B227.