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For Cooke, teaching all about relationships

Former teacher's aide returns as art, photography teacher

Andrew+Cooke+works+with+a+student+in+his+first-period+Art+1+class.++Cooke+was+a+teacher+aide+at+McCallum+last+year%2C+and+now+teaches+Commercial+Photography+1+and+Art+1+full+time.+He+plans+to+expand+into+Advanced+Commercial+Photography+next+year.+Photo+by+Janssen+Transier.
Andrew Cooke works with a student in his first-period Art 1 class.  Cooke was a teacher aide at McCallum last year, and now teaches Commercial Photography 1 and Art 1 full time. He plans to expand into Advanced Commercial Photography next year. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Andrew Cooke works with a student in his first-period Art 1 class. Cooke was a teacher aide at McCallum last year, and now teaches Commercial Photography 1 and Art 1 full time. He plans to expand into Advanced Commercial Photography next year. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Janssen Transier

Janssen Transier

Andrew Cooke works with a student in his first-period Art 1 class. Cooke was a teacher aide at McCallum last year, and now teaches Commercial Photography 1 and Art 1 full time. He plans to expand into Advanced Commercial Photography next year. Photo by Janssen Transier.

Janssen Transier, staff reporter

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Though he is a first-year teacher, Andrew Cooke is no stranger to McCallum. After spending last year as an teacher aide for Jackson Sutton, he knows the school well. Cooke believes that his experience at McCallum last year has helped prepare him for his new challenges that will come with teaching Art 1 and Commercial Photography classes this year.

“Being an aide for Jackson, more than anything taught me patience, and just enjoying the good times,” Cooke said. “It’s not just working with Jackson; it’s working with everyone in the classroom. It really teaches you how to build solid relationships, and I sort of learned to be a better person.”

Before Cooke was at McCallum, he spent some time substitute teaching back in Houston, where he taught chemistry for a year at Jersey Village High School, the same high school that he graduated from.  

People are closer here. More students know each other, more teachers know each other: there’s more interaction.”

— Andrew Cooke

For Cooke, McCallum has been a much better experience.

“The biggest difference for me, is it feels like people are closer here. It feels like more students know each other, more teachers know each other, there’s more interaction,” Cooke said. “Here it feels like you have to know students a little bit more, which is great because student interaction is my favorite part of the job anyway.”

Student interaction may be Cooke’s favorite part of teaching but he also loves his subject area. Cooke said he loves teaching Art 1, but photography is what he has the most experience in.

“That’s what I think I was hired to do,” Cooke said. “And eventually I want to transition over to digital art, like drawing on the computer, but photography is my background; that’s what I have my degree in.”

Cooke already has ideas for making his photography class unique, starting with utilizing the dark room that the photography club built over last spring break.

“When I was in school we had a dark room,” Cooke said. “I thought  it was a really great way to get kids involved because it’s a cool thing that you can’t really do at home.,”

Even though it is a couple weeks into the school year, Cooke has already had to face new challenges as a full-time teacher.

“It’s a lot of work,” Cooke said. “I love the work, and I love working, but teachers do a lot. You alway have to be planning weeks in advance. I would say that it’s the out-of-the-classroom stuff that is challenging because being in the classroom is great.”

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