Grades Taught: Junior Academy (7th/8th) and Academy (9th-12th)
Years at Telesis: Starting 2nd year
Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from Central Michigan University, double majored in History and Social Studies.
Campus Involvement: Junior Academy Basketball Coach, Academy Basketball Coach, Advisor to Table Top Club
Other: Teaching certificate
Q. What motivated you to become a teacher?
A. It started around 11th grade. I realized that I liked history and social studies a lot. I looked into it and saw that my two options were to become a historian or a history teacher. I figured that as a historian, you focus a lot on one area. As a social studies teacher, you focus a little bit on a bunch of different areas. It wasn’t until my first day into an actual high school setting, pre-student teaching in an economics class, that I realized this is something that I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Q. What is it about teaching that attracts you to the profession?
A. It’s that old cliché – that “I get it moment” with students. That’s not the only reason. It’s seeing how these kids progress throughout the year. Not just academically, but socially. It’s really cool to see that one kid that hasn’t said a single thing all year, but finally comes out of their shell out of nowhere. It’s really cool to see that aspect of it, along with kids being able to produce an essay with their original thoughts – ideas that I didn’t even think of for that particular assignment.
Q. Was there a time when you felt you got through to a kid…maybe that shy kid who now is out of their shell?
A. I don’t know if it’s necessarily something I did. I think it might have been something I tapped into, an interest that student had. There was a student last year who I don’t think I heard say a single word –not even to his peers – but then about three quarters into the semester I had about a five minute conversation with him. I think it was about music. It was kind of cool to get that little snapshot of a student opening up to me.
Q. What’s something important that you’d like your students to take away from class?
A. They need to know that there is a lot to learn, especially with history, but that isn’t necessarily the only thing I want them to take away from my class. I hope that they learn responsibility – that’s a big thing. Not just turning your assignments in on time, but how you treat everybody – respect. I hope that when they leave my class, they can walk out saying, “I learned one cool thing in that class”, no matter how it relates to history. At the same time, I think I would like a student to feel like a better person for taking my class.
Q. Is there somebody who inspired you to become a teacher or who may just inspire you in general?
A. Both of my grandparents on my father’s side were teachers. So, all throughout college — and even before college — when I told people that I wanted to go into teaching, they were really the two biggest motivators. They were really excited for me and told me how much experience I will gain from it and what an awesome profession it is. Even when people told me, “Don’t go into education now…it’s bad…don’t do it…times have changed,” they were always still pushing for it. I think that was awesome. Even to this day they call me up to ask, “How was school today? Are the kids being good?” They are very supportive.
Q. I know it’s your second year of teaching, but have any prior students come back to say that you inspired them in some way?
A. I haven’t had a student come back to tell me something quite like that. That would be cool. I have had a couple students who I talk to on a regular basis. One student will stay after class and talk to me about his college aspirations. I can definitely tell, and he has mentioned before, how grateful he is that I am able to be there for him, to talk about these things with him after school. His biggest concern is, “Will I make it into college?” So, I showed him a few things online, like Princeton review, and I told him, “Here is what you need to do to get into this college, here are some areas you need to focus on, and here are some other schools you can look into.”
I hope that more kids would be willing to stay and talk to me if they have any questions or anything that I can help with them at all.
Q. What is your favorite thing about Telesis?
A. I definitely love the small class sizes – I think that is a huge plus. I get to know these kids on a basis, that say, if I taught at a traditional public school, I wouldn’t get a chance to. I might have those students once in their whole four years, whereas here at Telesis I have had multiple students for multiple semesters. I can walk down the hall every day and say, “Hey, I heard you had a game coming up” or even “I heard you have a garage sale coming up” — just stuff like that — things I can talk to the kids about and build that relationship and that connection which shows I am paying attention, I am listening, and I am there for them.
Q. What is your favorite part about teaching history?
A. I have always been in love with history, but my favorite thing about teaching history is that it’s thousands of years worth of stuff I can cover. It’s the fact that there are multiple viewpoints. There’s not just this one viewpoint, there are ten other viewpoints you can look at – and you can show that to students. One student will like one point of view and another student will talk about the scenario they found interesting – and they can have a constructional debate or just have a conversation about it. That’s what I like about teaching history the most – the conversations that arise in class about the topics.
Q. Is there something you teach that you find most of your students are excited about?
A. The topic that gets asked for all the time, that kids want to learn about, is on presidents. Presidents and World War II are what most students ask about.
Q. What is your favorite lesson to teach?
A. Civil War, for sure. It’s about 4-5 weeks long to teach the whole thing. It has just always been my favorite time era. A lot of the information in the lesson is sometimes controversial, but I think that makes it more interesting- not just to myself but to the students as well. Especially with what’s going on today, it kind of brings things full circle.
Q. Have you heard any nice things from parents?
A. I’ve heard some positive things. Parents have said that their son or daughter really enjoyed my class and I made things simple for them to understand. The biggest thing is when a parent was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be teaching Junior Academy this year because it meant their kid wasn’t going to have me as a teacher. So, that definitely made me feel good – that they were looking forward to their kid having me as a teacher.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A. I think Telesis is a really great place. I’m really glad I started my career here. Not only has Telesis helped me grow as a teacher, but the fact that I am able to build these relationships with students is going to help me all throughout my career. Starting with such a small class setting is definitely positive. I really enjoy the way the school is run. You don’t see very many issues with cliques. I think it’s awesome to see different types of students hanging out with each other.