Preparing students for success.
Teaching is a great collaborative experience that helps put students in the best position to succeed.
After his undergraduate education Joe taught History, Geography, Civics, and Economics at a high school in northwest New Mexico and then at a high school in southeast Wisconsin.
Joe said he took a job on the New Mexico-Colorado border because he wanted to explore the Mountain West. And he did, taking advantage of hiking in the mountains and canyon lands, camping and fly-fishing at elevation, white-water rafting, and horseback riding the open range. Every weekend was a new adventure.
Joe said that he went into teaching to lead and be a role model and do the best job he could in creating course content, instructing, motivating and evaluating his students. He said teaching was a great collaborative experience with students that was about shared learning, problem solving and creating solutions to improve outcomes.
Joe said that the majority of students he taught in New Mexico were Navajo and he thinks that he learned more from them than he could have possibly taught them. Joe said he learned about the great Navajo culture, language and religious and healing ceremonies. He said that an elder taught him new Navajo words and phrases each day and talked to him about Navajo legend. Joe said it was his honor to be invited to and witness a Yei bi Chei, which is a Navajo sacred healing ceremony.
Joe said at both schools in addition to teaching regular sections of classes he also taught special education courses with students that had physical or developmental disabilities, various behavior disorders or were considered at-risk. Joe said a goal for his courses was to teach content but also create an environment that was comfortable and free from ridicule, a place where students could develop self-confidence and demonstrate their special gifts. Joe said an emphasis in these classrooms was reading, reading comprehension and verbal interaction to build an appreciation for learning and build confidence.
A Principal (and later he became a Superintendent) that Joe worked for wrote that Joe was a “strong asset to the school, and an outstanding leader with character, integrity, solid core values and a caring attitude.” He also said of Joe that he “treated all students with respect and dignity, required high expectations and was willing to work with students to make sure those high expectations were met.”
Joe had a great experience as a teacher and believes many aspects of teaching helped him as a coach and police officer. Joe transitioned to police work from teaching after training for and then being offered a contract to work as a police officer.
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