Though hard to imagine, teachers have other lives

Many students wonder why teachers don’t respond as quick as they would like to an email or put in grades as fast as they would like on Powerschool. This is because teachers, like students, have other things they enjoy doing and need to do outside of school.

“I think teachers are so individual,” English teach Heather Nicholson said. “Sometimes I think students don’t understand that teaching is not our life. It’s a part of it. A piece, but not the whole. I’m not sure what makes me stand apart from other teachers, but I do know that we are all very individual people with lives much bigger than the ones we live at school.”

Students tend to move through school with the belief that teachers have little life outside of grading/school. Contrary to most students’ beliefs, not all teachers go home on a Friday night and grade papers. Teachers want to escape school for a couple of days just as much as students do.

For Nicholson, video games are her escape. “I spend a lot of time playing COD Bops II Zombies (Call of Duty Black Ops II). We’re talking about two hours each night. I’m not sure how it happened, but now I’m hooked. Two player. Mr. Nicholson and I have made it to level 27,” Nicholson said.

Along with her love for geography, teacher Traci Lake, spends a lot of her time in the rink when she is not thinking about the earth. “I am the only teacher in the district who plays roller derby,” Lake said, “and it is also one thing that most students don’t know about me. I have skated with Cedar Valley Roller Derby since 2011. Even though I’m not skating this year, people should still come and watch — our first bout is Feb. 24th.”

Students also sometimes forget that teachers have commitments outside of their jobs, including family and friends.Nicholson said, “Regardless of what others think, being a teacher is not about teaching 100 percent of the time. I think a lot of students think teachers lives are their jobs. Not the case. At home, I spend time with my kids. That’s my priority number one.”

Choir teacher Elliot Kranz has even considered being with his daughter all day at home instead of teaching.

For science teacher Debbie Paulsen, a lot of her time is consumed by her farm and her kids’ swimming activities. Paulsen leaves school after the first shift of power hour to tend to her farm and train her horses for showings, and later on, she spends time with her kids. “Every day I have animals to feed at two farms,” she said. “In the summer that’s pretty easy, but winter brings extra work as we have more animals in the barn, and we don’t have heated buckets for water,” Paulsen said.

Sitting in on teacher Kevin Stewart’s history or driver education class, one would never guess his passion for the outdoors.“I was an avid surfer. I lived in Australia, a long time ago right after high school,” Stewart said.

He now continues his passion for the outdoors through biking and other forms of exercising. “I’m with a bicycle group here in town, a cycle organization, so I will go out and ride 30 or 40 miles in the evening after school,”

Despite Paulsen’s heavy schedule outside of school, she considers herself just like any other teacher at the high school. “Many of us (teachers) are at a point in our lives where our children’s pursuits are most of our spare time. I became an official with USA Swimming last year because it helps my daughter’s swim team, and I have spent several weekends officiating swim meet sessions, but I don’t know that I would call it a hobby of mine. There are world travelers, roller derby players, disc golf champions and other very interesting people on staff at CFHS.” Paulsen said.

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