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Mom to Mom Interview with Debbie Drake

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Mom to Mom JAN AOP

AOP: What inspired you to become an educator and to teach Spanish?

DD: I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I would often play “school” with my neighborhood friends. I had no idea, however, that teaching Spanish would be my future! I realized that I enjoyed English and foreign languages while attending college. Spanish was beneficial because now I can encourage others to explore languages and cultures outside their own.

AOP: You have three children attending the same school you teach at. What is that like, and how do you set boundaries when working with your children?

DD: This is a unique situation because I teach an enrichment class at my school, which means I teach each PK-6th grade student weekly. Consequently, my kids are also my students for eight years!

There are some boundaries that I have to set. The main one is that I have to respect that my kids are students first when they walk into my classroom during their scheduled time, which means I have to hide my “mom” expressions and treat them like I would any other student.

On the other hand, my kids must remember that I am their teacher during class and that my role is different at that time. Even with some of the challenges we come across due to this situation, our being together on the same campus during their school years is such a blessing and is the driving force behind where we choose to educate our children.

AOP: As a mom and teacher, how do you handle your child’s academic or personal struggles?

DD: The main thing that I have learned is to be there to listen, be there to tell them that “this too shall pass” no matter how strongly they feel at the moment, tell them the truth, and provide instruction on how to manage difficult situations.

AOP: How do you help your children navigate social relationships and peer pressure?

DD: Relationships are important, and we try to instill positive social skills and values so our kids can have fulfilling relationships. We emphasize the importance of humility by encouraging the kids not to brag or be boastful. We warn them about pride and how feeling superior to anyone in athletics, academics, etc., can lead one down a rocky, lonely path. We urge them to look at people’s character above appearance and possessions and ask: “Are they kind?” “How do they treat others?” “Do they want others to succeed?”

As far as peer pressure goes, we try to teach them how to make the right choice, but when they don’t, we do not cover for them- we talk through the situation, pursue all the facts, and make sure they make it right, no matter the amount of discomfort. We all make mistakes due to peer pressure and other reasons, so perfection cannot be the end goal- it is the courage to face the mistake, make it right, and keep going.

AOP: What is the most important lesson you hope to teach your children?

DD: The most important lesson, yet sometimes the hardest, is to have faith. Life will take us on some crazy highs and lows. But if we know that God will use all of those experiences together to teach us important lessons, we can keep growing and learning how to be the best version of ourselves if we are willing to accept them. For example, if we want courage, we must accept daring and daunting opportunities. If you’re going to learn patience, you will have to take the difficult times as a refining tool. Faith that good will come out of it is a great lesson to carry through life!

AOP: How do you handle feeling overwhelmed or stressed as a mother?

DD: The best thing for me is just stepping away for a minute. Sometimes, I just need some time to cuddle up in my recliner with a book and disconnect. I also use running to relieve stress and to lift a heavy heart. I have been running for over 20 years, which has helped me through many tough times.

AOP: What have you learned about yourself through motherhood?

DD: I have learned that I always need to look at myself at the end of the day and ask if I am being the person I want my kids to be when they grow up. It is so easy to tell people that this is what you should do or be, but the actual modeling of that behavior can be a challenge! Motherhood has taught me to love someone more than myself, be strong even when I feel weak, give grace and forgiveness freely, and remember that these people God entrusted to us are gifts.


Debbie Drake and her husband Aaron have lived in the Auburn/Opelika area since 2005 and have been married for 16 years. They are grateful for their children- Kaitlyn (15), David (13), and Jacob (9). Debbie has been teaching for 18 years and has had the privilege of teaching almost all PK- 12th grade levels. She enjoys reading, running, hiking at Chewacla, exploring new hobbies, attending family sports and activities, and traveling to the beach whenever possible!

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Mom to Mom Interview with Debbie Drake

by Staff time to read: 3 min