Kansas State University


College of Education

In the Classroom: Austin Lee

Austin Lee, left, is pictured with his mentor and vice principal, Mr. Travis Hermreck.

Name: Austin Lee

School district: Crest USD 479

City/State: Colony, KS

Class/content area taught: Social Studies (American History, World Geography, American Government, World History, 7th Social Studies, 8th Social Studies, Psychology)

What are you most excited about with your new career? Getting to know and creating a rapport with the students, as well as teaching my content area.

What you enjoy most about teaching: Getting to know the students in class, as well as seeing them progress in the classroom.

In what ways has your school/district supported you? Being a first-year teacher, they have offered up advice on how to make teaching more fun and easier while also keeping the students engaged.

What are some specific things you believe KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career? KSU helped me quite a bit with the lesson planning side of things. It’s pretty easy to go day-to-day in your first year of teaching, not knowing what is next just because of how busy you are. Teaching at a 1A school, I have seven preps, as well as sponsoring four after-school activities, so things get pretty hectic pretty quick, and lesson planning just helps you have one less thing to worry about.

Are there specifics about your background that make teaching the perfect fit for you? I come from a teacher oriented family, both my parents went to school to become teachers, however, my dad never entered the profession, as well as my grandfather. Also, I love my content, and enjoy listening to, as well as teaching all aspects of Social Studies.

Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Don’t go crazy on the students with rules, and being “too much in charge” that you can’t relate to your students. Rita F. Pierson said, “Kids don’t learn from teachers they don’t like.” Also, don’t let those certain students know they can raise your blood pressure, because they WILL keep doing it.

Now, what’s it like to work with your spouse? Some people really complain or worry about working with their spouses, but in all reality, we don’t ever see each other unless we want to walk to the other’s classroom, and talk about something. Nine times out of 10 when we do see each other, it’s about students, or what’s going on around the school, when is a certain school event, etc….

We teach at a 1A school, so it’s tiny; graduating class this year will be a bigger class of 19! That being said, all the teachers wear many different hats of responsibility, including after-school activities Bailey and I are constantly counting on each other for helping one another. Working with her means I have someone to vent to, because I can go to her and talk about a student who raises my blood pressure, and usually that same student has done the same to her. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only teacher that that one students does that to. We also take our work life home with us. Our students dominate our conversations at home, about what they said or did in class/outside of class, what made us laugh, who broke what in what classroom, why a student is struggling, and how much we can’t wait for the next break to be coming up! We also teach with another couple who we like to hang out with on the weekends, and our students dominate our conversations with them as well. I don’t really know what we used to talk about before we both were hired at Crest High School.

Other thoughts? Have fun!

Austin Lee and his wife, Bailey, both teach at Crest High School in Colony, KS. Austin is in his first year teaching social studies courses, and Bailey is in her fourth year teaching all the sciences courses at the 1A high school.