Piše: Tea Drmač
Great teachers are very rare, and these teachers’ students remember them their entire lives. These kinds of teachers are great because they love to teach, and they sincerely love to have students in their classrooms. They love to share their knowledge with students, and these teachers insist that each one of their students must show their potential. We have the pleasure to talk to one of these teachers. His name is Joseph Akers. Mr. Akers is a history teacher at Riesel ISD. Riesel school is a public school located in Riesel, TX. He answered our questions and told us why he studied history, what teaching means to him, and much more.
Where did you graduate college, and what was your major?
“Graduated high school from Green Run High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1991. My first college was Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1993. I majored in Science Avionics. My second college was Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas, where I graduated in 2009 with an Associates of Art in Philosophy. My third college was Texas A&M in Corpus Christi where I graduated several times with a Bachelors Degree of Art in history in 2008, a Masters of Science in Education Administration in 2010, a second Masters of Science in Education Technology in 2013, and a third Masters of Science in Education Curriculum and Instruction in 2015. lol I'm tired of school but still need to go back and complete my doctoral degree in Education Leadership.”
We asked him why he chose these majors, and why he chose to teach. To this question he says:
“I chose these majors because I love history and why we as people do the things we do. I went into teaching to surround myself with people who also like history, but more for those who don’t like it. Why? In high school I hated the way history was taught to me so I wanted to change how it's taught in schools today for my kids, including you, Tea!”
What did you find most interesting in your job?
“The most interesting thing I found in my job was observing how students learn and trying to develop that relationship to help them learn.”
Some students do love to study; some don’t, and that is part of school life in every society. But why is it important for students to study history? The answer was given to us by our interlocutor.
“History is more than dates and places… history is “our story”. It's the mark of our impact on others and future generations, and it belongs to all of us. We all have a birth date and a death date on a headstone, but between the dates is a dash. It’s that dash that marks our historical impact on the next generation.”
Each teacher has a favorite area that he likes to teach. About himself, Mr. Akers says:
“The one thing I like to teach the most is genealogy, because by studying our family's history, we learn about ourselves and why we embrace the culture we do, as well as seek to change the social wrongs of our previous generations.”
We wanted to know which period of history students most like to study; about that Mr. Akers says:
“There's no particular one period as students are all different and have different interests, but as a teacher, I challenge students to look at the impact their interest plays today. I use the adage like Shutruk Nahunti, “Great ambition and conquest without contributions to society is without significance…”
Each job brings some challenges as well as teaching. Mr. Akers about his says:
“The biggest challenges are parents and the community who would rather let their children remain ignorant only so they can play some sort of sports. I'm always about academics FIRST!”
Every job has challenges, but also great characteristics. That makes every job interesting. So the next question we asked was: what are the best characteristics of your job?
“The biggest characteristic is that every day's lesson is different because all students are different. The point is to change the world, one mind at a time, so that we all make it a better place for the next generation.”
We can’t talk about history, and not talk about the inspirational and important people who have been making it.
“U.S. President Andrew Jackson, Napoleon Bonaparte, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurieles, Aristotle, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, and Mahatma Gandhi. These were determined people who sought to change the world in their respective lifetimes, but instead impacted all human kind for what we call “civilization” today in our time.”
For the end, we wanted to know: as a teacher, of what are you most proud?
“I'm proudest as a teacher when I see that student just “Get it!” And they pay it forward…”