At one point or another every student has the enigmatic revelation that their teachersweren’t always teachers and are in fact people, maybe they even had a career before they taught.For a boy of few years as I am, school has been the focus of most my life so far and the worldbeyond it though fast approaching seems alien and distant. Thus the lives of my teachers beforethey ever stepped on campus are intriguing quarries.
To start closer to home however, many teachers grew up with a passion for teaching,some fantastic joy from instructing which was apparent for them from the beginning. AnaPlacke, science teacher, decided to go to college for teaching science after teaching a chemistry 2class in high school. I often found in my interviews that it was odd little events that led to thedecision for them that teaching was the way to go.
For Mike Warren, science teacher, followinga line of teachers in his family as simply something to do following college found his passion forteaching. For Mr. Warren teaching is a series of rewarding ups and downs with an agreeablelifestyle which it enables; having summers off, spending more time with his children and beingable to connect with his wife who is also a teacher, all come as part of the attractive package ofteaching for Mr. Warren.
Ms. Placke has also found teaching to be as enjoyable an endeavor as she hoped it would be but humorously found it to be a lot more ‘paperwork’ than she thought itwould be and wishes to stress to students that teachers do a whole lot more than grade homeworkthan what you see them do in class. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though there are plenty ofboth to be had teaching.
Here at the Oracle our very own Julia Raposo was a similarly wayward youth whodefaulted to teaching as Mr. Warren had and found that she loved it. After necessity sent herback to college in the middle of her graphic design career, Ms. Raposo came to North Springs,“and here I am, still doing this.” Even after these random little circumstances that set theseteachers on their ways to crafting America’s youth their resounding response was ‘yes’ they loveteaching, their flukes and immediate decisions worked out.
Many teachers are now findinghappiness in teaching after years of other careers however.A passion for teaching came to many of our teachers here after years of other careers, inRahim Ghassemian’s case, math teacher, an exciting past of journalism lies behind his academicpresent. “I was a journalist, a reporter especially during the revolution and the war between Iranand Iraq from 1980 to 1988 and during my high school years I always worked for differentmagazines and newspapers.” On top of his impressive journalistic past Mr. Ghassemian also hasaward winning translations of books. For Mr. Ghassemian however, teaching was no realepiphany, teaching was a passion he always had and he taught in Tehran before ever steppinginto an American high school.
For others it would seem a greater sense of service fuelled their career changes. Somelike Mr. Warren find pride in teaching as making a change in America’s youth but it wasn’t theimmediate reason for teaching. Gwen Kaminsky, social studies teacher, was spurred to teachmore jarringly than most after seven years as an attorney, “I was working at this law firm whenColumbine happened and the day after it happened I went into the partner’s office and quit.”After flirting with the idea of teaching, the Columbine tragedy directly caused her switch, “I wasreally troubled by the idea that it seemed like nobody was talking to these kids, how could theyget to that point? I just felt like if someone was there talking to them then maybe this wouldn’thappen.” So clearly teachers’ motivations range from the inherently passionate to the harrowingly persuaded, all resulting in incredibly driven instructors.
In my search I was grabbed left and right, driven to every polar opinion and purpose by my sample of North Springs teachers and I learned one unifying thing about them. Regardless of their origins, initial drives or the troubles they’ve faced in and out of the classroom our teachers care very genuinely about their students and their work here at North Springs. And after delving into the pasts and minds of some of our teachers here I appreciate this fact that much more, and I imagine you will too.