I went to boarding school and was very close with an advisor, coach, and English teacher there. It was a significant relationship at a significant point in my life, and it helped me to identify what I wanted to do in my professional life. I love the multiple points of contact I inevitably have with students in a boarding environment: I love that I can be the advisor, coach, teacher, and dorm parent for a student. As all of the different elements of my work at Kent come together, I value the depth and the quality of the relationships I enjoy with students. I simply can't imagine a better context in which to teach and mentor young people.
Watching a student persevere and then finally grasp a concept is one of the most inspiring moments in my life as a teacher and a coach. Sharing the student’s consequent feelings of pride, joy and confidence is equally gratifying. My work provides me with the opportunity to have close and daily interactions with students where I can help them to understand that the process is more important than the product, and that success should be perceived as a journey not a destination. Students experience growth opportunities every day at Kent—watching that process is what I enjoy most.
Many teachers say that they do what they do for the kids, and I certainly feel this way; however, I've come to realize that, in truth, it’s as much for me! My work at Kent brings me a great deal of joy. I love watching a student spend weeks on multiple drafts of a poem that, in the end, blows us all away. I love going to the rink in the afternoon and hanging out with kids in the dorm in the evening. What a thrill it is, indeed, to live in a community of intense scholarship with many, many talented people from whom I learn so much. Like all teachers, yes, the essence of my chosen life is to help kids, but to enjoy the kind of personal fulfillment in what I do each day is, truly, a tremendous gift.
When teaching math, I strive to develop concepts beyond the black and white. Our small class size allows us the opportunity to analyze together, and that collaborative effort can be a lot of fun. Not only do I enjoy stressing the importance of the material, but I also aim to help my students develop a level of responsibility and ownership of their academics. I also work to establish an environment where kids feel comfortable taking risks because they know that they will be supported through the process.
I love the fact that I also get to work closely with our students in athletics. Student-athletes tend to express themselves in different ways when competing in sports, but so do the adults involved. The relationships that develop through these experiences are so valuable to student-athletes' development. Athletics are emotional, and you get to see these kids at their best and worst. It's a great opportunity to break it down and support them through it. I thoroughly enjoy the process of teaching athletes the Xs and Os of field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse, but I cherish the moments when there is opportunity to teach a valuable life lesson. Whether focusing on sportsmanship, teamwork, or teaching kids to push themselves a little harder, I gain the most satisfaction through these opportunities and watching student-athletes grow as individuals and as members of a team.
On the field, class or in the dorm, all of these forums come together to provide a first class education for our students. Athletics lends itself to teaching life-long lessons, but I also strive to bring these valuable lessons into my classroom on a daily basis. When we are in class, we are a team just as we are on Wednesday and Saturday when we don the navy Kent jersey. More importantly, this feeling of being a team really resonates throughout Kent as a whole. It's important; that connection, that impact and how with that relationship, we are helping prepare students and athletes to be successful at Kent and beyond.