Photo via Mr. Balas
What school do you teach at as well as the grades and subjects?
I was hired by the SASD in August of 1986 & began my career, teaching Pre-Algebra & Algebra I, shortly thereafter. I taught 8th grade for 10 years in the beloved “tuna can”, followed by 4 years at the high school, teaching Geometry & Algebra II. After construction was completed on the Junior High in 2000, I was asked to be a part of the inaugural teaching team, and I’ve been there ever since.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town western PA. As the son of a Lutheran Pastor, I was raised and continue to hold strong religious & moral values. They’ve come in quite handy in the public educational setting.
What college did you attend?
After graduating from high school, I migrated east to Muhlenberg College in Allentown, where I studied mathematics and education. It was near the end of my sophomore year of college when I decided to go into teaching. How else could I use mathematics, work with the youth & be the center of attention?
What’s your favorite part about teaching?
One of my ‘pet peeves’ if you will, is the usage of the phrase: “living the dream”. More often than not, the sarcastic phrase is casually used in short conversations, usually in passing. Let’s make it clear: I am living the dream! This is what I prepared for and have done now for many years! I enjoy every day with which we are blessed. Sure, there are bad moments, however, part of my job (& this might be my religious upbringing doing the talking) is not only to teach the curriculum, but create academic understanding, social awareness & elevate students’ personal growth. Hey, as I said, I enjoy being here, I want others to enjoy each day with me.
What is the best lesson you have ever taught?
School days are most enjoyable when I realize the lesson has been a successful “give & take” discussion, filled with “a-ha’s”, “oh yeah’s” & thoughtful follow-up responses. An educator’s career challenge is to do exactly this, as often as humanly possible. Sure, I personally look forward to specific topics such as “solving quadratic equations” or “finding points of concurrency in triangles”, but I don’t want to sound like more of a math nerd than I already am. That’s OK. After 35 years, I believe I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.