Years Teaching: 4.5 years, all at Waterloo East.
Hobbies/Interests: Outside of teaching and coaching, I compete in weightlifting where I am ranked top 10 in the country. Other than that, I like to do my own professional development by reading books, I travel and speak to schools and coaches, and I still enjoy playing video games.
What do you enjoy most about teaching? I love watching student’s succeed academically and athletically. There is no greater feeling in the world than having students come to you and share their successes, rather it is passing a test, coming back and visiting during college or going and watching your former students compete in college.
What do you find most challenging about teaching? Continuing to balance planning, grading, and data collection while maintaining a positive and motivating attitude everyday. Teachers are human too and it takes a lot to keep all areas at a high level.
Best tip for new teachers: If kids or coaches have never had success, you have to do the believing for them. Remember that every time you say a positive or encouraging comment to someone, it only helps build and create culture.
Best tip for career teachers: If you don’t make every effort to support the kids year round, how can you expect them to commit to you?
Favorite piece of advice for students: Trust the process! Although activities, practice, etc. may not make sense right away, continue to trust your teachers and coaches and push through. They all have a certain plan for you and if you follow it, success will come!
What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: Being a Gold Star Teacher means the world to me because I believe it represents all of East High. It shows that our students and staff here are all capable of achieving success at high levels and that if everyone believes and supports our students, we can achieve it together. I want people to see this as a representation of how always doing the right thing and sticking to your morals will result in success.
Watch Justin Decker’s Gold Star Video here!