Why they teach

Teachers express the joys of teaching


Why they teach?
Mr. Schroeder, biology

“I thought it was the best way I could influence the field of science.”

Mr. Schroeder knew he wanted to be a teacher after working as a substitute teacher. He said if he figured if he could handle being a substitute teacher he could handle anything. Mr. Schroeder said that his first degree was wildlife management and it was close to biology in terms of the classes he needed so it was an easy decision for him.

Mr. Schroeder said that he really enjoys teaching his students and that he lives for the “ah-ha moments” they express or “when they show they are curious about the subject,” basically showing interest in what he’s teaching.

Mr. Schroeder also said that he doesn’t like how teachers are treated as being less than other professionals in society. Mr. Schroeder thinks that he has made a difference in some kids’ lives. He said that he can’t reach everyone but he knows that he has helped a few, sometimes not specifically in biology alone, but in terms of emotional health.

Mr. Wiorek, Family and Consumer Sciences and foods classes

Mr. Wiorek began wanting to be a family therapist, but he was told by his teachers and people he had met previously that he would make a good teacher. From mentoring freshmen and working with special needs students throughout his childhood he realized that he could make an impact on a students  before they could reach a therapist’s office.

So he decided to become a teacher and chose the subject he did because he always heard time and again, “I wish this was taught in school!” With a regard for life skills, and with his desire to work with kids and families about life issues as a family therapist, it just made sense to him to pursue a path in Family and Consumer Science. He thinks being able to teach food classes is a bonus.

Mr. Wiorek knew he wanted to be a teacher in his freshman year of college. He said he was originally pursuing history/psychology at a high school level, but changed his mind to that of elementary with a minor in special ed. Then he met Audrey, his wife, and they both discovered how important the lessons are that one can learn from Family Consumer Science so both he and his wife chose to teach Family Consumer Science.

He was afraid at first that he would be too young to teach high schoolers, that there wouldn’t be enough of an age gap, and that he didn’t have confidence to work with that age. By the time he was a junior in college, and had taught small lessons for practice, he realized how much he enjoyed teaching middle-high school.

“You can have real conversations with students at the high school age, get down the important stuff, and in an open, honest way.” That’s why he enjoyed teaching so much.

Mr. Wiorek said he likes teaching most days and that some days at any job would be difficult, something may not go well and he said it can be hard to pick himself up and try again but he gets through it. On days it goes well he said he loves it and he finds actual joy in working.

He said he especially likes teaching at Amherst because everyone has been kind and welcoming to him. Mr. Wiorek said he doesn’t know if he’s made a difference in the lives of the kids he has taught. He said it is his goal to make a difference but not necessarily to have students remember him. He hopes to be a good example of a male role model, with lessons he hopes his students will remember when they are struggling in life. He is still relatively new so he said time will tell if students are gaining anything from his classes though he hopes that while the kids are in his room they feel loved, heard, and that they have some fun. He said he uses a lot of humor while teaching, and he thinks that he has a good relationship with his students.

Mr. Dummer, history

Mr. Dummer chose to teach because he was always interested in teaching and because he looked up to teachers he had in school. When he was in college he decided to pursue his interest in media production instead. He decided it was a mistake because he didn’t enjoy how individually competitive the work was at the news station where he worked. He then decided to go back to school and earn his degree to teach. He has always enjoyed learning history; as a child he enjoyed learning the history behind the places he and his family visited.

He was also fascinated at a young age with television news. He would often try to learn the history behind what caused the current problems in the world.

Mr. Dummer said teaching can be enjoyable for many reasons and he likes that he and his colleagues work toward the same goal of student success. He appreciates being able to make lesson plans around what is best for his students. When he was a news reporter, his schedule could be unpredictable, especially during breaking news that he needed to cover. Back then he had little choice over the topics he covered; he feels more in control as a teacher.