Substitutes at Lakeland (Q&A)

Substitutes at Lakeland (Q&A)

Melia Blackwell, Opinions Writer

As of the 2021-2022 school year, there are multiple new teachers, some have transferred from different areas of Idaho while there are a few from out of state. 

Mr. Strong, an English substitute who is currently taking over for Mr. Pitassi while he is away. Strong is not only one of the more well-known substitute teachers, but he is highly liked amongst most students. 

Some students are clueless as to who Mr. Strong is or there is a possibility that they don´t know much about him.

Q: What made you want to teach at Lakeland specifically?

A: “Compared to other schools, the students here are much more reachable, much more polite. Compared to the Kootenai schools, Lakeland’s quality of students is what prompted me to teach here.”

Q: What does Lakeland offer that previous schools do not? 

A: “The best schools, I would say Charter and the Lakeland District, their administration supports and backs the teachers. At other schools, you could not depend on the admin to back up their teachers when for example a parent calls in about a student.”

Q: How long have you taught for? What do you enjoy most about it?

A: “Teaching and substituting combined comes out to about 12 years. I think the teenage years are the most fascinating years in your entire life and helping students achieve the lightbulb moment when they understand something is what drives me as a teacher. I look to help them expand their point of view about subjects they’ve already been familiar with.”

Q: What are your main goals in teaching? What do you try to avoid?

A: “The main goal is to make sure both the student, the parent, and myself are on board with how things are being taught and the communication and understanding that comes with it. To also agree upon the fact that school is very important, not just in the United States but across the world.

Q: What are your main goals in teaching? What do you try to avoid?

A: “Church, writing, I’m becoming an author and I am currently a novelist. I write about techno-thrillers, examples like Mission Impossible, The Bourne Identity, or the Jack Ryan series written by Tom Clark. What I’m currently writing about is from a technical standpoint because I love technology and I love traveling. I have hit 5 of the 7 continents, 38 countries, and in over 700 locations in my life. I love to travel and food, especially cooking. Reading, good theatres, music. In a way, I steer myself to be a renaissance man [someone who takes interest in a wide variety of topics]”

Q: In what ways do you view the teacher shortage? What do you think has caused it?

A: “I’m not surprised, COVID has had a huge impact. Idaho districts do not pay as much as Washington does or as much as the private schools or private tutors. If someone were to be interested in teaching or substituting, they have many different options. I personally value the face to face contact it helps me get to know students because it’s always nice to hear the positive feedback from them in the hallways, it strives me to come back and make an even better impression or just see them because there are faces I recognize over the 5 years I’ve substitute taught.”