MAT. ’08, high school English teacher, Lake Oswego School District
Teaching isn’t your first career. What did you do before?
I gave up a career in college admissions where I had advanced to senior associate dean of admissions at a liberal arts college—it paid about twice what a beginning teacher makes. But in doing that work I found I wanted to help these high school students instead of being the guy that said yes or no you can come here or you can’t. I loved reading their writing. I wanted to be a high school teacher since I was in high school myself but I didn’t really feel grown up enough to do it when I was in my 20s. I finally got to the point where I felt grown up enough to take it on.
Why is being a teacher important to you?
My future and your future is dependent on our current students. They’re the ones who are going to be in charge when we’re older, when we’re gone. As much as we want to serve ourselves, we also have to serve the future by serving children.
What’s the best part of your job?
It keeps challenging me. I found a profession where I can be creative, much more than ever before in any other profession and I find that very fulfilling. In some ways the world has become a friendlier place for me.
What’s the most important lesson you learned in graduate school?
You can be a clever intellectual, but that’s worth nothing unless you love your kids.