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Life Outside the Classroom

Teachers talk about second jobs and furthered education

Nalani Nuylan, News Editor

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The late nights studying. The customer service at Lowe’s. The motivation to treat cancer patients. There is more to everyone than what meets the eye, and teachers are no exception.

Teachers across campus have a second life when they are not teaching. Some have a part time job, while others have again enrolled in college to earn their graduate degree. Advanced Placement and Pre-AP biology teacher Stacy Steele is working to get her masters degree in Educational Administration.

“I am hoping to be an administrator, like an assistant principal,” Steele said. “There are other things I can do with this degree, but that’s the direction I am interested in at the moment.”

Steele’s motivation for getting a higher level of education is her desire to make a difference on campus.

“I love helping people and trying to learn different ways to teach, work with students, increase student learning and dig into the how and why of education,” Steele said. “That really matters to me. It’s always about the whole student, not just walking into the classroom, but from start to finish.”

Math teacher Brittany Barlow is studying Educational Leadership from pre-K through senior year. She initially wanted to go back to college to teach math teachers how to teach, but she found her path with high school students.

“The longer I was in the classroom, the more I wanted to be a bigger part of influencing how students learn and what they learn,” Barlow said.

Barlow is in a program where she is required to be in the classroom every three weeks from 8-5.

“It’s intense, but it’s a matter of being disciplined,” Barlow said. “While I’m here, I’m here. I’m doing my job, and I try to use my time wisely. When I get home at 8:00, I become a student. Every day, I work a little bit and get it done.”

Physics teacher Gregory Poe is studying to get his Masters of Arts in Physics Education.

“I figured I’d teach forever,” Poe said. “It doesn’t really matter what your degree is in, so, I picked the easiest, cheapest, quickest online degree that is relevant to what I do.”

To juggle teacher and student life, Poe assigned days to focus on his grad school. His days for studying are on Sundays after church for six to seven hours, and on Thursday’s for two to three hours.

“It takes some discipline,” Poe said. “I would say it is very difficult, but I also enjoy learning. So it’s kind of relaxing for me to do grad school stuff.”

While some teachers study after school, others work a part time job. History teacher Allison Miller is a customer service associate at Lowe’s. She works in the electrical department.

“I would have to say my favorite part about my job at Lowe’s is the people I work with,” Miller said. “They are my family, because I have worked with them for so long.”

Miller has worked at Lowe’s for 14 years and worked with the people in her department for eight years.

“I really love the part where I get to move around,” Miller said. “I am always learning something about home improvement. Being a homeowner, I can take what I learn from my job and apply it to my own home. I also love the discount and the interactions I have with my customers.”

Even though the two jobs are different, Miller’s role in each position is similar.

“I don’t know that there is much of a contrast between my jobs,” Miller said. “In a way, I feel as though I am a teacher at Lowe’s. People come to me for advice, the same as my students in history do for life guidance.”

Other teachers besides Miller also have a part time job. Over each school break, anatomy and physiology teacher Samuel Rodriguez works as a certified chemo pharmacy technician for Texas Oncology in Round Rock.

“When I got into college, I got into medicine,” Rodriguez said. “I originally wanted to become a doctor, but instead, become a pharmacist. Since I was working at Walgreens, and they had a pharmacy department, I worked my way up the ladder from being a stock boy to being a certified pharmacist.”

It took Rodriguez a year to get certified, and he has been a pharmacy tech since 2001.

“My favorite part is helping others in need,” Rodriguez said. “Helping people who have cancer, at their roughest part of their lives is a wonderful experience. And I am the person prolonging or treating what they have. That is a great feeling.”
Even with the benefits that come from being a pharmaceutical tech, Rodriguez enjoys being a teacher.

“I enjoy teaching as a full-time career, and then being a pharmacy tech,” Rodriguez said. “I would still love to become a pharmacist, but I found my niche with anatomy. I like both sides of the world, the hospital and teaching, but I feel my purpose is to be a teacher.”

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