Jeff Herrett has been teaching for eight years and has fallen in love with his job at Dixon High School. Herrett believes that teaching allows educators to make day-to-day impact on students lives.
Grade level/class: 9-12
School: Dixon High School
Number of years in education: 8
Number of years at current school: 3
Graduating colleges/universities: University of North Carolina-Wilmington
Q. What encouraged you to pursue your job as an educator?
A. The wealth, because I get paid in more than just dollars and cents. A wealth of doing good things as educators can be a rewarding life.
Q. What encouraged you to pursue education within your specific age level/curriculum?
A. I first got licensed in elementary education. Even though the powers that be always clamored for more male teachers, I could not get a job. One day a friend asked ‘why don’t you teach food/culinary at the high school level’ and it never occurred to me that I could, because in my day it was called “home economics.” So, I took the PRAXIS and got my license to teach Family & Consumer Science.
Q. What is your main classroom philosophy?
A. We are all teachers and we are all learners. You’ve got to do something if you want to be somebody. My job is to help you find that something.
Q. What is a lesson you have learned from your students?
A. That you must put the shoe on the other foot. As educators, we have a duty to give students the opportunities to help them be successful in life.
Q. What is your favorite part of being an educator?
A. Weekends and holidays off. It gives me time to spend with my family when they are off. My kids are only going to be this age once and I miss less of it when we are all together.
Q. What advice would you give to upcoming/new educators?
A. Same advice I was given, stay out of the teacher’s lounge. Don’t let others’ experiences influence your attitude and your classroom.
Q. What are three words that would describe your life outside of the classroom?
A. Family, ocean and worrying.
Q. What is a favorite memory from your teaching career?
A. A good memory I have occurred during my time at UNCW, when I was getting my licensure to teach. I had a teacher that was not very memorable as far as a teacher, but during one lesson she put on Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon” and a Vietnam-era film on and it hit me like a ton of bricks. The moment of the lesson was so powerful and it triggered emotions in me that I did not realize I had inside me from that forgotten war. Very moving, still today. Sometimes teachers are unaware of the impact they might have on a student.
Q. What advice would you give to a parent?
A. Have that conversation now. Whatever it is, have it now! Read to them and let them read to you. Listen, not just hear.
Q. What changes would you like to see implemented in the school system within the next 5 years?
A. I am sorry, but I don’t have the time to tell you and you don’t have the time to listen. I will say it is due time to quit doing the same thing.
Q. What are the biggest challenges you face as an educator in a military town?
A. Honestly, I see and feel none, but I know for a fact the student who may be affiliated with the military has challenges. It must be difficult if you are constantly on the move and have a hard time adjusting to a new school. I hear the sounds of freedom and it makes me even more proud to serve our entire community, both military and civilian.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share about being an educator?
A. We do not need to reinvent the wheel on this road to educating our future’s children, but we do need to find a different ride. I saw an ad from the grocery store Lidl and it said, “rethink grocery.” I believe we need to rethink education; how we are preparing our students. We keep doing the same thing and getting the same results. It’s time to rethink education.
Editor’s note: The Teacher Feature is a column that highlights accomplished educators on and off base and seeks to recognize the important role they play in children’s live and education.