Kansas State University


College of Education

In the Classroom: TJ Slade

As the sign says, TJ’s class is OPEN at Salina South.

Name:  TJ Slade

School district: USD 305

Salina South High School

City/State: Salina, KS

Class/content area taught: Computer Applications I, Computer Applications II, Computer Programming, Web Page Design, Graphic Design 2D & Graphic Design – Digital

What you are most excited about with your new career: The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students inside and outside my classroom. This is the best job in the world.

And here’s another of TJ’s students…sort of. Saint, a service dog in training, goes to school every day with TJ. Eventually, he will graduate and be placed with an individual in high need of a service dog.

What you enjoy most about teaching: I enjoy seeing my students every single day. The relationships that I have built with my students are awesome. I love providing opportunities to my students to reach their maximum potential.!

Ways your school/district has supported you: My district has provided me with multiple tiers of support as a first year teacher. At the beginning of the year, new teachers receive extra days of orientation. As well, I am currently participating in a mentorship program. My mentor provides me with tons of resources, feedback and information that I wouldn’t know without her guidance. Lastly, my district strongly supports professional development and has allowed me to expand my content knowledge through multiple conferences and workshops.

TJ’s classroom is ready for students.

Ways KSU especially helped prepare you for your new career: KSU specifically helped me to prepare for teaching a variety of different level learners through accommodations and modifications, how to prepare lesson plans & units, and how to separate my personal life from my school life.

Specifics about your background that make teaching the perfect fit for you: Both my parents, my fiancé and, soon to be, my sister are all teachers. It is in our blood. My plan was to major in Computer Science, then Graphic Design but I decided that those careers wouldn’t give me the opportunity to make an impact in my community like teaching would. Therefore, I now get to teach Computer Science, Graphic Design and more. I could not be happier with my decision.

TJ leads one of his classes.

Suggestions/encouragement for new teachers: Do not be worried about finding your dream school your first year of teaching.  If a job in your dream school is not available, use this time to discover what you want from your school, but get a job.  You will not gain valuable experience waiting for that job to open up.  In addition, you might be surprised that what you originally wanted in a school is no longer your top priority.  You will change as an individual and as a teacher.  You’ll learn so much during student teaching but not as much as a first semester teacher. Your first semester will be tough but just know how to ask for help.  My greatest weakness used to be not asking for help but now I rely on the amazing individuals that surround me.  As well, be flexible.  I’ve had to change my plan a few times throughout last semester, but just know some days aren’t going to go as planned.  Also, I have four different classrooms, so I’ve had to carry my classroom in a backpack but being flexible has helped.  Lastly, use memes and Fortnite dances.  The kids love it, and even it is embarrassing at times, it allows me to form stronger relationships with my students.Other thoughts: Get involved with your school outside the classroom!  At Salina South High, I’m the webmaster, Business Professionals of America sponsor, assistant bowling coach and assistant track coach; for Salina South Middle School, I’m the assistant 8thgrade football coach.  If coaching isn’t your thing, sponsor a club.  If coaching or sponsoring isn’t your thing, find something. I have met so many different types of students from coaching and sponsoring.  Not every kid that attends South High will take one of my courses, so it is awesome to meet other kids outside the classroom.  Lastly, if you are reading this newsletter, there is a good chance you used Canvas for all of your K-State classes. CANVAS IS FREE FOR TEACHERS and I absolutely love using it in my classroom.  I’m the only teacher that is using it for my courses, but it is such a great tool to have at my fingertips (especially the free part).  If you have questions about it, feel free to get in contact with me!