IT MUST BE FATE: McCallum welcomed new English and AVID teacher Nathan McCallum this year. For McCallum, this position was the perfect fit, and not just because his last name matched the school.
Although McCallum did his first year of teaching in Taylor, Texas, he taught out of state for five years in Illinois. When he returned to teaching in Texas last year he taught at Bedichek Middle School, making this year his eighth year teaching.
Teaching wasn’t always the plan for McCallum. When he started college he was part of the theatre department.
“Like many, I was confused on what I wanted to do when I went to college,” McCallum said. “Luckily, I had ran into a program that was a masters for education. I never really thought about education being a career but then I started to think about who made an impact in my life? Who helped me through all the trauma and hardships I faced in my life? Come to think about it, it was many of my coaches and teachers, so I wanted to do that same thing.”
McCallum believes that his background in theater helps him engage his class.
“When I came into teaching I already had like that engagement piece,” McCallum said. “A lot of things I do in class is very theatrical from as simple as me like teaching mini lesson to like me incorporating dramatic lessons or even like activities from my drama background. So I think that kind of helps with like behavior, the discipline policy and like, you know, classroom management. But mainly just like keeping these kids energized and keeping them focused on like what we need to do, especially with the block scheduling. So, I think that’s what’s helped me most in my experiences.”
McCallum hopes one day to become a principal and although he is already on that path currently he has a goal to build up the AVID program.
“I have some big shoes to fill,” McCallum said, referring to the former AVID teacher. “But I’ve already created some strong connections and strong networks in this community. So hopefully we can continue to push these kids to not only get involved here at the school, but also outside of the school and develop that relationship with other teachers and people in our community.”
Teaching in Texas versus Illinois has many differences that McCallum has noticed moving between the two states.
“Texas takes standardized testing very serious.” McCallum explained. “They influence the curriculum and how teachers teach and basically how systems should be approached in our schools and around the districts are only to achieve great results in standardized testing. There wasn’t much that in Illinois. The student body in Illinois was completely different. I didn’t have many Hispanic kids up north, in the Midwest, which was kind of unfortunate for me being Hispanic. But it was also awesome because it kind of opened my eyes to a new diverse perspectives.”
The position to be an AVID teacher at McCallum High School is an exciting new opportunity for McCallum and he hopes to continue engaging his students and creating great connections.