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Throwback Thursday: What Our Teachers Were Like in High School

Siela Zembsch, EMC Staff Writer

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Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that our teachers were once high schoolers themselves. I thought that all of them, though, especially as high-school teachers now, would have good advice on how to go about these four years — and maybe even some funny and relatable stories. So I interviewed three teachers, Mr. Kirvin, Mrs. O, and Ms. Booth, to see what they had to say. Read on to find out — and maybe even get some more insight into the remainder of your high school career!

Mr. Kirvin teaches social studies, advises Student Senate, and coached modified girls’ basketball for Galway.

1) Briefly describe your education from high school and onwards. What extracurriculars were you involved in? I graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 1992.  I was captain of the varsity boys basketball team my Senior Year.  I also did Student Council and was on the tennis team.

2) How was your high school different from Galway’s? At Shen my graduating class was larger than the number of kids in grades 8-12 here at Galway.  There were people in my graduating class I did not know and when they crossed the stage at graduation I asked who they were.  

3) What type of student were you in high school? The teacher’s pet or the class clown or somewhere in between? At Shen I think I was much more serious than I am now.  I took school very seriously because it was very competitive.  I also was very quiet.  If you can believe this.  

 4) Who was your favorite high school teacher? Why? Do you ever try to imitate them as a teacher now? My favorite HS teacher was my Government teacher Mr Kelly.  Like me, he was not that serious all the time.  We would discuss topics, but he was so quirky in his teaching methods, that it made the class fun.  

5) What were your favorite/best subjects in high school and why? My favorite classes were my government classes.  Especially the ones I took through SUNY at Albany. They were challenging.

6) Describe your proudest moment in high school. Or describe another moment: most humiliating? most memorable? most terrifying? My proudest moment was my Senior year when we upset Troy in the basketball sectional quarterfinals.  My team went through a lot of challenges during my senior season in high school.  It was nice to end up playing well and upsetting a high ranked team.   

7) While going through high school, what career/education/other plans did you have for the future? What inspired you to become a high school teacher or administrator? While in high school I thought I was going to go into practicing law or serving in government.  I really was not that serious into going into education.  I had a minor in education at Hobart College and I majored in Political Science.  My plans and life changed drastically after my accident and recovery.  Then I knew that I was meant to go into teaching.  

8) What do you know now that you wish you knew in high school? What advice could you give us about high school or college?Don’t waste your time taking filler classes in high school, if you can start working on your college degree. Also when you take the classes, make sure they can transfer the credit to the school you will be attending.  

9)  If you could learn or teach at a fictional school or one described in a book, what would it be and why? If you could talk to any one historic figure, who’d it be and why? Xavier’s School for the Gifted and Talented. Why not?? I think I would like to talk to Shakespeare and see if he was actually intelligent enough to write all his plays or if they really were written by someone else.

 

Ms. Booth teaches Jr. High Chorus, Sr. High Chorus, and 7th Grade General Music, as well as small group band and chorus lessons. She’s also the director of Chamber Singers, Music Director for the spring musical, AND the Senior Class advisor.

1) Briefly describe your education from high school and onwards. What extracurriculars were you involved in? I grew up in Schuylerville and went to school K-12 there. In High School I was really involved in the music program. I was in Select Chorus, Jazz Band (which was a class, not a club!) and Drama Club. I was also student director for the Jr. High Chorus my senior year of high school. Outside of the music program I was on the Quiz Team, in French Club, and I played volleyball and tennis (BADLY). For undergrad- I went to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam.  At Crane I was in a musical organization called Sigma Alpha Iota (it’s similar to a sorority, except not at all…). I went to Grad School at St. Rose, but I wasn’t involved in any extracurriculars there.

2)How was your high school different from Galway’s? Schuylerville is a little bigger than Galway. My graduating class had about 130 kids in it.  We got a full class period for lunch, which meant we had a total of 9 periods in a day. And you had the choice between taking Spanish or French. But besides that honestly it’s pretty similar.

3) What type of student were you in high school? The teacher’s pet or the class clown or somewhere in between? I don’t think I was a teacher’s pet, but I was definitely a nerd (…I still am).    

4)Who was your favorite high school teacher? Why? Do you ever try to imitate them as a teacher now? My Band and Chorus teachers were obviously a huge inspiration to me. I still ask for advice from my High School Chorus teacher, to this day. But honestly I had SO many great teachers! Looking back, what I liked the best about my favorite teachers was how much you could tell they cared about what they were teaching, and about their students. I hope that my students would be able to say the same thing about me.

5) What were your favorite/best subjects in high school and why? Besides music, my favorite subjects were English (I was a total book worm) and Social Studies.

6) Describe your proudest moment in high school. Or describe another moment: most humiliating? most memorable? most terrifying? I was really proud to be Salutatorian of my high school class. I worked hard for that!  A terrifying moment: I remember once an English teacher threw a desk out of his 2nd story window. It was for dramatic effect, possibly while we were learning Othello?  A humiliating moment: any time I tried to do anything remotely athletic…it was pretty embarrassing.

7) While going through high school, what career/education/other plans did you have for the future? What inspired you to become a high school teacher or administrator? I knew I wanted to be a music teacher by the time I was in 7th grade. I was inspired to become a music teacher because my elementary music classes were…less than stellar (all we ever did was learn music vocabulary and take spelling tests) I watched a lot of my friends lose interest in music, which really bummed me out because music was my favorite thing. So I decided I wanted to be a music teacher so that I could hopefully make other kids love music as much as I did.  Up until my senior year, I was actually planning on being a trumpet major, and becoming a band teacher. But I realized that I loved singing WAY more, so I changed my plans. And I’m very glad I did!

8)  What do you know now that you wish you knew in high school? What advice could you give us about high school or college?People always say that High School is “the best time of your life.” I wish I’d known how very, very wrong that is. High School is a tough time! Puberty is the WORST.  Being adult is way better. Trust me.  My advice for college would be: try lots of new things, even if you’re not sure you’ll like them. I wish I’d branched out more in college. The opportunities are there! Take advantage of them.

9) If you could learn or teach at a fictional school or one described in a book, what would it be and why? What musician would you be if you had a choice? What’s your favorite song of all time? Um… I would want to be a student at Hogwarts OF COURSE.  But my Muggle choice would be the schoolhouse from Anne of Green Gables.  If I could be any musician I would be Carole King because she is amazing. Did you know that she started her musical career when she was in High School? As for my favorite song: I could never choose! I love too many songs!

 

Mrs. Ostrander (Mrs. O) teaches 10th and 11th grade English, and is the adviser of GTV and the co-adviser of Eagles Media Center.

1)  Briefly describe your education from high school and onwards. What extracurriculars were you involved in? In high school I played field hockey for a year. I went to Endicott College in Beverly, MA to get an Associates Degree in Fashion Merchandising. While I was there I was published in the literary journal, and played on the tennis team. Then I went to SUNY Albany to get my Bachelors in English and Masters in English Education.

2)  How was your high school different from Galway’s? My high school was much bigger than Galway, so the kids there were just a number.

3) What type of student were you in high school? The teacher’s pet or the class clown or somewhere in between? I was an average student except for English–I did very well in those classes.

4) Who was your favorite high school teacher? Why? Do you ever try to imitate them as a teacher now? I had my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Colyer, twice in high school. He was someone who really cared about his students and went out of his way to get to know us. During his free periods he would hold question and answer sessions–the room would be packed. Kids could write down any question they wanted to ask, about school, life in general, controversial issues, and he would answer and we would have amazing discussions. I think I do try to imitate him, in that I want my students to know that I care about them and am here to help them through my class and high school in general.

5) What were your favorite/best subjects in high school and why? Favorite subject: English of course. I just loved writing and reading. I loved class discussions where we would go into the deeper layers of literature.

6) Describe your proudest moment in high school. Proudest moment: Graduating! I really didn’t like high school.

7) While going through high school, what career/education/other plans did you have for the future? What inspired you to become a high school teacher or administrator? My aunt worked as a buyer for a department store and I thought that was amazing…to be able to go to NYC and buy clothes for a store! How great would that be?! I worked at Macy’s and liked to help put up displays so I thought that fashion merchandising was the career for me. But then I realized that retail is a very difficult field, that you just don’t walk into a store and become a buyer. People that are successful in fashion really don’t mind all the crazy hours and living in the city, but I knew it was not for me. I always loved English, and took some great English classes at Endicott and realized that I needed to make a change. As soon as I started taking English classes at SUNY Albany, I knew I was in the right place, back doing what I love!

8) What do you know now that you wish you knew in high school? What advice could you give us about high school or college?My advice is to make the most of your time in high school. You are all very lucky to be part of a small community like Galway. There are a lot of opportunities here that the big schools don’t have. When you are thinking about college, community college is a great choice if you want to save money. There are great programs available, especially if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life. There’s nothing wrong with changing your major too…I went from fashion merchandising to teaching English! I strongly believe that you have to do what you love. And it’s ok if it takes you a little while to figure out what that is.

9)  If you could learn or teach at a fictional school or one described in a book, what would it be and why? What book character do you think you would be if you had a choice? If I could teach at any fictional school, it would be of course… HOGWARTS!!! The book character I would be if I had a choice…that is an impossible question since I love so many books! It has to be someone from Harry Potter though…I would have to choose Hermione. I always admired her for her brains, her work ethic and her fierce loyalty to her friends. She also had 2 possessions which were amazing: the Time Turner and her magical purse that had everything they needed in the end. And she used them very well.

I love teaching here at Galway–this small community always comes together for each other and I am so thankful to be here!

 

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Throwback Thursday: What Our Teachers Were Like in High School”

  1. Rachel Reichard on May 4th, 2017 8:26 am

    This was a really good article! You think you know your favorite teachers but then you learn so much more

    [Reply]

    Siela Reply:

    Thanks! It was a fun interview to come up with questions for.

    [Reply]

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Throwback Thursday: What Our Teachers Were Like in High School