Teachers bring new lessons to classrooms

Drew Hoffmaster | The Chronicle

Students are not the only ones going to school.

Although Mason High School (MHS) teachers have already completed their required four-year bachelor’s degree and state certification, some teachers work towards additional degrees to further their professional careers or expand their teaching skills. For MHS Assistant Principal Tina Drake, pursuing higher learning is what she enjoys doing in her free time

“I enjoy going to school and learning new stuff,” Drake said. “Especially when I know it’s going to make me a better person.”

Drake earned her bachelor’s in Mathematics Education from Kent State University, her Master of Arts (MA) in Education from Baldwin Wallace University and her Principal’s License from Ashland University. Currently, she is working on earning her Curriculum and Instruction Licensure through Ashland University.

“This license will help me better support teachers in regards to instructional planning, instructional strategies, understanding assessment and [teacher evaluations],” Drake said.

Physics teacher Brian Thomas originally got his bachelor’s in Biological Science Education through Ohio State University and Master of Education in Educational Leadership through Wright State University. Most recently, Thomas pursued a Gifted Coordinator Endorsement from Xavier University.

“[The Gifted Coordinator Endorsement] kind of helps me understand where my [students] are coming from,” Thomas said. “[These classes] increased my awareness, it changed how I interact and build relationships with students.”

Thomas learned the characteristics of identifying gifted students, and that students are gifted in different areas. This endorsement allowed him to realize the importance of doing other work outside of the classroom.

“I have students that will not do well on coursework, homework and tests because it doesn’t excite them,” Thomas said. “If I give them a project outside of school, they just really shine because they’re excited about something where they can be more individualistic.”

History teacher Charles Dugan originally received a bachelor’s in Spanish Education from Bowling Green State University. He soon realized he had a passion for teaching history and earned his MA in History Education from Xavier University.

“I saw [teaching history] as an opportunity to expand on the same ideas of Spanish, but just kind of in a larger way,” Dugan said. “They look at the same ideas of understanding cultural identity and understanding the basis for why people interact the way they do.”

Even though Spanish and history are composed of different content, he found similar areas of overlapping content to bring back to his Spanish classroom.

“I took several classes that were in history but were designed as either Latin American History or Spanish History,” Dugan said. “I could bring things about the culture or about the history that I had previously learned in my graduate [studies] and expand on it.”

Dugan said he also learned he could take activities from his Spanish classroom and implement them into teaching history to add variety.

“I’ll incorporate mixer activities where you get the opportunity to roleplay and discuss things in character,” Dugan said. “Putting yourself in the shoes of someone [else] helps you learn a lot.”

Math teacher Johnathon Sauer obtained his bachelor’s in Mathematics Education from Ohio State University, his MA for Teachers of Mathematics and his doctorate in Pure Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati. While working on his doctorate dissertation, he learned a few important lessons.

“I learned so much,” Sauer said. “The patience, the perseverance, the persistence of actually going through [the dissertation] and being able to say ‘look, it’s not going to come quickly [and] it’s not going [be] easy’.”

Through the research for the dissertation, Sauer said he learned to have more patience in his life and his classroom.

“You have to be patient with what you are doing, and I’ll be patient with you,” Sauer said. “Helping students gain that kind of patience and having patience with them goes a long way.”

Business teacher Carmen Scalfaro obtained his bachelor’s in Business Education from the University of Akron, his master’s in Curriculum and Teacher Leadership and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Miami University. While working on his doctorate, Scalfaro learned that he needed to have a fun and relaxed teaching style that emphasized student socialization.

“[I use] basic interaction games in class,” Scalfaro said. “[Students] form culture by listening to each other while playing these games and talking to each other and getting to know people.”

Scalfaro said he is always trying to improve his teaching by finding fun and exciting ways to engage his students.

“I always try to encourage people to never stop learning and take their education seriously,” Scalfaro said. “You never know what doors might open.”

Visuals by Allison Droege