This year, we welcomed multiple new teachers to the Middle College community. Here is an interview, conducted by Rachel Frankl, with one of our new teachers!
What made you first want to be a teacher?
I was a journalism major in college, but I didn’t feel like I would have a job after college. I liked my history classes and I saw the major social sciences for teachers and I liked that. As a kid, I always imagined what it would be like to teach and it was also a bit of a reality check. I wanted a job. I also like the tangible effect I had on kids. Especially juniors and seniors. Impact. Change lives.
What did you do before Middle College?
I taught at Cap and East Palo Alto. I ran the AVID program at Cap. For the past three or four years, I was splitting time between coaching other teachers and teaching.
What drew you to
I needed a new start after 15 years in the same place so I came to the interview here. I fell in love with the place. I already knew Ms. Redgate.
I liked the fact that we could treat students like adults.
The campus had a great vibe too. The whole place just felt special.
One specific moment?
Just seeing the genuine thinking and collaboration that happens here. There is so much genuine thinking going on. It’s because people are here for a reason and they want to be mature learners.
I think the fact that you’re already in college adds that level of academic maturity. You don’t need to find that special way to motivate a kid- everyone is motivated here. It’s easier here, but that’s because you’re college students.
At MC there’s much more one-on-one time with students, how is that beneficial?
You’re in a stage where you’re making decisions that will shape the next few years of your life.
All of a sudden you might not be on the same page as your parents. Sometimes you need a thought partner or someone to vent to. It’s good for me to able to understand where students are coming from. We’re able to give them one on one time with someone who’s gone through life and who can help.
What’s something your students at MC have taught you?
Well honestly, the way my history class is set up there is a lot of in-depth research into things I haven’t researched. They go so much more in-depth on a student topic. There’s Mayor Pete for one (he’s referencing a research project I did last semester). I’ve been reminded that everyone has their own life story- a reason they make the decisions. Whether it’s a good decision or not.
Since it’s a small learning environment, it’s easier to get to know students.
It’s not the same in a larger school, it’s easier to forget that these are people with lives.
What students would you encourage to come to MC?
My daughter. But, there’s no set template. Students who are bored with high school and want a challenge. Students who are ready and excited to have open conversations. Students who want to explore a major and see if it’s right for them. Mostly, students who want the support of being in a small learning community where there are adults who want you to succeed.
There are so many different reasons to come here.
What has been your favorite thing about the CSM campus?
The Starbucks on campus. But also, it’s beautiful, it’s hard not to appreciate it. There are students working with professors in the learning center. It’s a more mature environment.
Any words of advice for someone applying?
Do shadow days. Come visit the campus. Come see the classes. Come with an open mind. Be willing to take a risk. It doesn’t take long for MC students to meet other kids here who they get along with. Even if you’re shy or introverted, you’re able to find each other.
Everyone seems to have found someone--that’s what college is all about meeting new people.
I love it here, that’s all.