Name: Rachel Harmon
School district: USD 214 Ulysses, Ulysses High School
City/State: Ulysses, KS
Class/content area taught: Family & Consumer Science = Culinary Essentials, Human Growth & Development, Baking & Pastry, Family Studies, Nutrition & Wellness; FCCLA adviser; volleyball coach
What are you most excited about with your new career? Interacting with students.
What you enjoy most about teaching: The students.
In what ways has your school/district supported you? Send me to professional development, answer questions, local mentor, allowed me to participate in ECAL KSU research project/classes.
What are some specific things you believe KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career? KSU TELRN program. Allowed me to earn my education credentials as a grad student by giving me credit for my BA from 25 years ago and only having to take the education courses. Allowed me to use my background and experiences when creating class projects. It was compact and fast-paced.
Background: I earned a BA in Radio/Television from KSU in 1991. My first career was producing educational videos but injuries resulted in a career change. Since I’d been producing educational videos for use in schools and teaching and judging photography in 4-H for 25 years, transitioning to teaching seemed the logical path to follow. I’ve also been a volleyball and basketball official for that long as well has being a club volleyball coach so I was familiar with other aspects of education. I found myself teaching players about each game by explaining the rules as needed while on the court. My extensive background in 4-H as both a member and an adult volunteer prepared me for the FCS content. I am also endorsed in English, Social Studies and Journalism. While a video producer I earned 10 Telly Awards and currently I’m a member of the Telly Awards Silver Council, which judges the competition’s entries. I think my experiences in business and life in general are advantageous because I can use real-world examples during class discussions and I can pull out proof if I need it. Coming to Ulysses felt like coming home because I lived in southwest Kansas for 10 years, during the 90s. Many of the same people are still in the area.
Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Take a deep breath. Ask for help. Let your mentor, principal, etc., know if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They’ll help you because they want to keep you!