Challenge Yourself: An Interview With Mrs. Korff
A look inside Mrs. Korff's classroom.
January 6, 2022
Beloved chemistry teacher Mrs. Korff has been teaching students for 22 years. As a teacher, her favorite aspect of her job is the connections she is able to make with her students. She talks a little bit about different ways she challenges herself and how she inspires her kids to do the same.
Q: I HEARD THAT YOU RUN MARATHONS, CAN YOU SHARE A FEW STORIES FROM THOSE EXPERIENCES?
A: I have run a marathon in every state of the United States and I have done a hundred and four of them and a marathon is 26.2 miles and I was officially the third female in New Jersey to have ever done that, and the other two were my friends. I like to see our country by running because in a car it’s too fast. So I feel like I get to know the lay of the land better by going to the different states and running. My goal was to always make a friend at each marathon. So I don’t run to be fast, I run to be festive.
Q: HAVE YOU ALWAYS KNOWN THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A TEACHER?
A: That’s such a hard question. I always knew I was good at it. But I really went to school for physical therapy. But when I was in grad school I was subbing and I was coaching, so I started to like that more. I would always teach something but I didn’t know I was going to go into it as a profession until I was going to physical therapy grad school, and then coaching and subbing at the same time and realized I kind of like coaching and subbing more than physical therapy school. So then I had to get my masters to teach chemistry specifically, so I had to go back to school.
Q: WHEN DID YOU START YOUR MOLE PROJECT AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START IT?
A: In the year 2000 is when I started. But what made me do it was because I use mole day as a way to get to know you. Because that’s what the project is, you have to make something that represents you. But you’re presenting it like you’re making the mini mole of yourself. So that’s the purpose of mole day. Oh and it’s always a play on words. So it’s not the Mona Lisa, it’s the “Mola Lisa.”
Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
A: But I want to give a shoutout to my alumni. I have had people in the past who have emailed me ten years later saying “Korffy I ran my first marathon thinking of you.” I always have a saying: If you don’t challenge yourself physically, you will become mentally weak. Or the other one I always tell my students: Three types of people in life, drivers, passengers, and people in the trunk… drivers wanted. Those are the two big life lessons I really teach the people. Three types of people in life. Driver, passenger, people in the trunk. What are you going to be? Driver. So I equate in the classroom as to, if it’s very difficult for you to go up a flight of stairs, it’s probably very difficult for you to do five problems in physics. But if I’m challenging myself physically and I’m strong, I can tackle whatever life gives me.
As Mrs. Korff says, “If you don’t challenge yourself mentally, you will become physically weak.” It is clear that by following this philosophy in her personal life, she is able to inspire her students to do the same.