Kids get a ‘Hahn’ up at Carver Academy

Teacher shares love of sports, teaches good health

Date Published: 
July 4, 2014

During a long school day, any physical activity can be a welcome break. That’s why Robert “Bob” Hahn makes physical education a positive thing at G.W. Carver Academy, where he was named Teacher of the Year this year.

“I’m here to teach them to try to keep themselves physically fit, find things that they like to do to keep them active and try to keep them out of trouble,” he said.

Carver Academy is an alternative school in Frankford focusing on individual Indian River School District K-12 students’ academic, behavioral and personal needs. They keep up with their home schools’ academics until ready to return.

Hahn was called a “mentor, motivator and friend on a daily basis” in a film montage presented at the district Teacher of the Year ceremony.

“He takes genuine interest in the students,” said one staff member. Students enjoy his class, they said, not just because it’s gym, but because they know they are truly supported there. One student even thanked him for redirecting their life.

“I’m always there for the kids. I always have their best interests” in mind, Hahn said, whether planning lessons or dealing with their behavior. “I don’t just jump down their throats [when frustrated] … I try to keep a positive outlook on everything.”

Now working fulltime in his fourth year at Carver, Hahn also split time with Phillip C. Showell Elementary for several years.

Now with class sizes of about five to 15 students, Hahn gets in more one-on-one instruction. Younger children just have P.E., while older students also have health or strength and conditioning (such as weightlifting).

“It’s a nice way for them to channel some of their energy. I’m able to focus some of their energy,” plus see their athletic improvement, Hahn said. “A lot of them have some really good athletic ability.”

“Their favorite thing is basketball,” Hahn noted. “It helps keep them on-task. If they behave, they get five minutes of basketball at the end of class.”

With a small population, Carver students also get extra gym time for behaving well. Hahn often takes a group of lunchtime students to let loose at the gym.

Typically found in the afternoons at Indian River High School, Hahn coaches football and track-and-field.

“My grandfather was a teacher and a coach. So was my grandmother,” explained Hahn, also saying he also wanted a profession that would keep him close to athletics. “I enjoyed sports and sharing them with people.”

He enjoys working with young people in the schools and in the surf, having taught surfing in Ocean City, Md.

What’s the best part of teaching?

“Being able to help students to, hopefully, find something they can connect with, stay physically active for the rest of their lives,” Hahn said. “Just try to give them time where they can get release and still learn.”

He likes interacting with students, he said, but “It’s rewarding when they work their way out of Carver. … You helped them work out.”

Carver Academy has a transient population, with students coming as needed and returning to their home schools when ready. Hahn said the biggest challenge is behind the scenes, “making sure how you’re dealing with the student fits the mold with what everyone wants for the year,” fitting lesson plans to school, district, state and national requirements.

Plus, kids are pulled out of class for their respective testing sessions — more challenging because the school houses all grades.

Originally from Pennsylvania and having attended West Chester University, Hahn was a summertime local at the Delaware shore and now lives in Fenwick Island. He still loves surfing, hunting and fishing.