By: Karlie Harris
In eighth grade, Aimee Hocker took a career inventory test that told her, without a doubt, she should be a librarian.
Like most middle school students whose ideas about a career have yet to materialize, she didn’t believe it.
But, it turns out, and to Glenelg’s benefit, fate served Hocker well. Since 2010, she has been one of the school’s two library media specialists – in Hocker’s case, a catchall descriptor that just starts to scratch the surface of all the roles she plays: technology leader, Video Production teacher, morning announcement show manager, non-fiction print and digital collections organizer, professional development provider, and library research instructor and library media mentor.
Add advisor of Civil Air Patrol, Card Club, and Games Club to her list of volunteer activities, and it’s pretty clear that regardless of what any test told her in the past, Hocker is right where she’s meant to be, now.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Hocker said. “I love helping others, especially students, and I am thankful that my job lets me explore many topics in instructional technology and curricular research classes. I appreciate that so much in education and instructional technology is new and ever-changing. I feel very connected with the school community in this way.”
Hocker has been an integral part of the Howard County school community since 2003 when she taught sixth and eighth grade social studies at Wilde Lake Middle School. Upon earning a master’s degree in school library media at McDaniel College, Hocker transitioned to being Wilde Lake’s library media specialist intern and finally its media specialist from 2007-2010.
“The more I learned about library media, the more I loved it,” Hocker said. “Library media offered many different avenues. I’ve been able to work with many teachers, students and subject areas, along with various tech integrations and research projects.”
One unanticipated avenue brought Hocker into the world of teaching Video Production the last three years and running Glenelg’s studio and control room.
“I knew in library media I would teach instructional technology with classes, but I never expected to add a specialization in a single area of media,” Hocker said. “I love having my own class of students again, learning about new digital media, and creatively developing the video production course with my students. Three days a week I design and teach production lessons and projects which are separate from the show. I am nervous in front of large audiences so the announcement show is out of my comfort zone, but my class and our student and staff volunteer anchors make it a fun and rewarding experience.”
Hocker has been involved in running the announcement show since 2010. Airing now twice a week, Hocker and her new team strive to include timely content and well-scripted teleprompt copy to deliver a professional broadcast. All week, behind the scenes, Hocker revises and updates scripts and media, leads video production students through alternating roles on video, sound, and mics, works with volunteer anchors, and completes any final edits during school, after school and weekends all between her other library tasks, teaching collaborations, projects, and student requests, which also spill over to nights and weekends.
For Hocker, her time, commitment, and dedication are nothing short of a labor of love, which does not go unnoticed.
“Not only does she do so much with and for students and staff, but she does so much over the weekend as well, which the staff and I entirely appreciate,” said principal Shawn Hastings-Hauf. Mrs. Hocker goes above and beyond and her dedication is heavily admired.”
No one may admire her as much, though, as fellow media specialist Dawn Currie-Scott, who has worked alongside Hocker for 13 years.
“She has great empathy for human beings and has wonderful ideas,” Currie-Scott said. “The combination of the two is truly a joy. I have so much respect for her – I call her my work wife! She is the queen of printers; they listen to her. I’m not a big nonfiction reader, but she is, and yet I’m still amazed by the fantastic nonfiction books she picks out for students and myself to read. She is an awesome video editor and excels at everything she does.”
And yet, despite the individual praise and accolades, Hocker said it is most important that the library media center have a “students and staff first” approach to make the space feel like the heart of the school.
“We are always here to help and assist students and staff whenever an information or technology need arises,” Hocker said. “Mrs. Currie-Scott, my fellow media specialist, and Mrs. Carpenter, Mrs. Cooke, and Mr. Foster, Glenelg’s permanent substitutes and media helpers, and our student aides have all immensely contributed to the media center’s enormous, never-ending checklist, and I am very appreciative to work with each of them.”
When Hocker isn’t devoting her time to Glenelg and its students, she said she is usually doing one of the following: enjoying time with her 15-year-old son, and her family and friends, gardening, and finding time for fitness activities.
And while Hocker would like to one day retire and head somewhere warm with a beach where she can forget about winter forever, her daily destination to Glenelg is all she needs in her professional life.
Turns out her eighth grade career inventory was surprisingly on target.