Veteran teachers inspire junior high students
(May 21, 2016)
Article and video by Junior High Journalism Students Ella Baird and Mackenzie Aldridge
Photos by Junior High Journalism Student Tanner Brown
Shelley Lane, junior high math instructor, and David Schooler, junior high science teacher, are eager for students to succeed in their classroom.
Lane has been teaching for 21 years, but her years of experience have not made her complacent. Her innovative ideas and ability to relate to all students was recently recognized at the end-of-the-year teacher reception. Administrators voted her “Teacher of the Year” in the secondary building.
Lane said she did everything by the book when she first started teaching. She pointed out that she strives to have her students learn in a unique way in which they can relate.
“The most challenging topic for me to teach is some of the concepts in the seventh-grade curriculum. While that may sound funny, because the concepts may seem easy, for example decimal or operations with fractions, the reason it is so challenging is because when students come to me in seventh-grade, their abilities and masteries of content are at different levels.
“I think it is important to push all kids, and to make that happen day in and day out is pretty hard in every single class,” Lane said.
She stated that the kids have a really good number understanding of percents. She could have her students solving four different ways but all correct.
“My favorite thing about teaching math is being able to watch the kids grow. I have a unique situation here at Silver Lake, where I have students for two years in a row and watch them come in as seventh-graders and maybe they don't have as much confidence in themselves. I hear them say, ‘I’m not good at math.’ But by the time they leave in eighth- grade, and they’re solving equations and working concepts with multiple steps in them confidently, that makes it all worthwhile for me,” Lane said.
Allexis Bahner, eighth-grader, said her motivation in math is to get good grades and learn new strategies.
Schooler can also be found with Lane in the junior high wing.
Schooler has been teaching science for 13 years. He said teaching science made an impact on his life by teaching him new concepts.
Before Schooler came to Silver Lake, he taught and coached at French Middle School in the Topeka 501 school district. He taught seventh-graders science and math. Schooler coached football, basketball, and track.
“My favorite thing to talk about in science is biology. I enjoy human anatomy and physiology,” Schooler said.
Besides teaching, Schooler is a year-round coach. He coaches junior high football, junior high girls’ basketball, and junior high track.
Schooler stated his fondest earliest memories of teaching were just connecting with students.
“In an ideal 90 minute class period, I like to break it up into three sections where students are working in groups whether they are investigating in something or working on some group projects. I like it when we are working as a whole class and also when they have some time alone where they are actually processing and thinking about things on their own without somebody else.
“Sometimes some of those activities might be more hands-on and sometimes it might be on a book, but I like to usually break it up into three segments,” Schooler said.
Logan Matzke, eighth-grader, said his favorite experiment is called “The Floating Experiment.” He said students all brought in different items to see if they float or sink.
Schooler said getting the students engaged and interested in the topic is very challenging.
“Teaching science has taught me many life lessons, and I continue to learn new things,” he said.
Shelley Lane helps Eighth-Graders Dustin Swain, Seth Evans, Shelbie Todd, Dawson Schwarz, Alijah Starks, Grace North, and Josie Martin on an activity called Power Rangers. (Photo by Tanner Brown)
Seventh-Graders Joey Jordan, Zoe Brokaw, Daigen Griffin, and Sidney Kuhn work on a plant classification poster for science class. (Photo by Tanner Brown)
David Schooler watches Kyla Hay, Madeline Cregan, and Bailey McCollum progress on their classification poster for science. (Photo by Tanner Brown)