Issuu on Google+

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LH FEATURE

The Little Hawk Feature Magazine


The Little Hawk Feature Magazine

September 27, 2013

44

64

12 4

UP ALL NIGHT

SENIORS TAKE CENTER STAGE

ON THE COVER: WHO’S WATCHING YOU?

By Sylvia Dean

By Ellen Carman

Braden Offerman-Mims ‘15 and Nile Iverson ‘14 discuss the challenges of chronic sleep depravation, and an expert warns against “sleep-texting.”

This year, seniors like Gretchen Burke ‘14, a light technician, and Amy Ostrem ‘14, an aspiring musical theatre major, will make their mark.

By Jacob Potash An in-depth look at the state of online privacy – and how high school students are approaching the question of how much to share on the web.

WWW.THELITTLEHAWK.COM

14

4

BORN TO TEACH: MR. SCHUMANN

New teacher Jason Schumann dishes on “coming out” as teacher and enjoying Midwestern manners.


Q&A

MR. BERRY

City High alum Jim Berry returns to his alma mater this fall as the new choir director. He brings a lifetime of musical experience, most recently as a director at Bettendorf High. By Emma McNutt Were you in choir when you were younger?

Yes, back when City High was a three-year high school. I was in Sophomore Singers, and then I was in concert choir for two years, and in show choir, 4th Ave Jazz Company, for three years. I was a threeyear all stater from City High. I also sang through college.

What got you into music?

I’ve always loved music. I had gone to Regina in seventh grade, and when I walked in the doors at South East Junior High as an eighth grader, I heard the show choir rehearsing, and it was really cool, and I thought “How could I be a part of that?” So I introduced myself to the choir director, and I got into choir and show choir and had a blast. I’ve been having a blast ever since.

Has choir always been what you wanted to be involved in?

In college I did a lot more instrumental music, and it was actually a surprise to many of my classmates when I graduated from college and got a choir director job, just because I’d been doing band stuff for so long.

How long have you been teaching choir?

Oh gosh, I started actually teaching vocal music in 1992 at Prairie High School. I’ve been at Prairie High School, Iowa City West High School, North West Junior High, South East Junior High, and Bettendorf. It’s been a long time.

Where did you teach choir before?

I was at Bettendorf High School, and it is a growing program that is getting to the point where it is getting pretty good. It’s been a wonderful experience at Bettendorf. Just a real fantastic place.

What genre of songs do you like?

Definitely choral music – the text is just amazing and composers use different compositional devices to create different moods and imagery. It’s just absolutely fascinating to me. I don’t write a lot of music, but I find the people who do fascinating to teach, perform, and talk about.

Photos courtesy of Jim Berry

Is anyone in your family involved in music?

Everybody is involved in music in my family. My wife is the general music teacher at Lemme Elementary, and my son, Austin Berry, is a 2-year all stater here in voice, in 4th Ave Jazz Company, drum major in the marching band, plays bass trombone, is in the jazz band, symphony orchestra… I don’t remember. He is in so many music groups I have trouble getting to all of his concerts. My son Jonathan is taking piano and starting to get excited about music.

Why did you want to take the job at City?

I have a “Notre Dame clause.” Sometimes football coaches have this “Notre Dame clause,” like Lou Holtz, a coach at Minnesota, who had only been there for two years but had a clause in his contract that said, “If I am offered the Notre Dame job, I can get out of my contract and leave.” I had a gentlemen’s agreement at Bettendorf that as much as I love Bettendorf high school there is only one place I would leave for, and that is City High School. This is “the school that leads,” I am an alum of this program, Dr. Grove has been my best friend for about 20 years, and I still live in this community. This is the greatest job I could ever get.

How are you feeling about your first year?

I’m incredibly excited, it’s going to be very exciting moving into a new wing, and to get to know the City High students better. It comes with a lot of expectations, obviously. City High school has high expectations, and I will continue those great traditions and expectations, and we will be fantastic. It’s a little daunting, but I can’t wait to get started.

Do you have anything unique you’re bringing to City High?

I’m not aware we have ever had a City High alum as the head choral director at the school. Like I said, I’ve known Grove for about 20 years. Before that my high school choir director here was Larry Munsin, and before that it was Glenn Gabanski – he was here for 30 years and he was my church choir director – and I know none of them were City High grads, so I might be the first. I’m really excited about that.

What are you most excited about?

Being home, I know this community, I know a lot of the people here. City High is an established program. It is going to be awesome. September 27, 2013 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

3


2:37AM

Sleep disorders can be crippling for students. But is medication the answer? by Sylvia Dean


F

or most people, a sleep- sleeping if it’s too much.” less night is unusual. Walking One of the most common treatments specialists suggest through the doors of City High is to schedule regular sleeping patterns by going to bed at the at seven in the morning is diffi- same time every night. Iverson has not always been able to cult enough for most teenagers follow this advice. even with eight hours of rest. “There’s no way I can fall asleep at the same time every Yawns of weary teenagers surge day. Some nights I’ll be up until midnight just to do homethrough the hallways, but hid- work. If I didn’t have that, maybe I could have a more orgaden among them are students nized schedule. But when you’ve got work and homework, who don’t know the feeling of a it’s hard.” good night’s sleep. One such stuMost students have the occasional late night, but some dent has hardly known sufficient rest since the second grade. may not know the long term health effects. Braden Offerman-Mims ‘15 began to have sleeping trou“Low oxygen to the brain over and over can eventually bles in second grade, and by the fourth grade, it was normal begin to mimic alzheimer’s,” Dr. Mark Dyken said. “Everyfor him to go entire nights without rest. He suffers from in- thing you learn throughout the day, dreaming is reviewing. somnia and hypnophobia, defined as the excessive and irra- When you take away that deep sleep, it can affect your memtonal fear of sleep. ory. If you study all day and all night, not getting any sleep, Offerman-Mims generally averages about two hours of you can’t perform well the next day.” sleep a night, but during periods Dyken specializes in sleeping of stress he will go completely disorders at the University of Iowa’s without it. Hospitals and Clinics. He empha“In the past week, I’ve slept sizes that sleep deprivation can a total of about thirty minutes. have unpredictable consequences. Last night I got maybe fifteen. “A sleep disorder may just as But sometimes if I’m doing really well be called a medical disorder,” well, I can get around 5 hours,” Dyken said. “All medical problems Offerman-Mims said. “I adapt that occur while you’re awake can to it. Some people can and some occur just as easily in your sleep. people can’t, but I mostly have.” Strokes and heart attacks, for exAfter adjusting to such little ample.” sleep over a long period of time, Dyken warns that in addition he has found ways to get more to stress and homework, one of sleep and to maintain his focus the most common causes of sleep- Braden Offerman-Mims ‘13 ing disorders in today’s teenagers during the school day. “Some nights I read about an is texting, which can be addictive. hour or so, and that helps. I’ve The average teen sends 30 to 40 taken melatonin, but that doesn’t do anything,” Offerman- text messages every evening, right around bedtime. Mims said. “Physically I’m tired, but mentally I just power “You’re in your bed drifting to sleep, and hear that beep,” through it.” Dyken said. “You pick it up to answer, and fall right back Offerman-Mims doesn’t take any medication. In the past asleep. You repeat that process over and over. he has tried melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle “You’re basically sleeping with your cell phone! Sleepby chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body texting is a huge problem. It disrupts sleep to the point where temperature. It helps many relax in preparation for better you’ll start doing poorly in school and getting bad grades. It sleep, but does not directly cause sleeping. might make the difference between being the President of Nile Iverson ‘14 regularly uses sleep aids to fight insom- the United States, or the one sweeping the President’s floor.” nia, which in his case is influenced by stress and anxiety. The future for sleep disorders is unclear, but researchers “After a point I had to start taking medication because it and clinicians are constantly learning more about them.. got so bad,” Iverson said. “It’s not recommended to use sleep Professionals are striving to identify insomnia early and aids long term, but I’ve done so for years and it often worries discourage use of over-the-counter drugs. Left untreated, the me.” disorder can increase the risk of depression, diabetes, and Deeply ingrained sleep troubles are not helped by the hypertension. added stress that comes from being a high school student. The National Institutes of Health have lately taken a spe“A big part of stress in school has to do with extra-curric- cial interest in one form of treatment: Cognitive Behavioral ulars,” Iverson said. “On top of the work we get, it’s hard to Therapy. balance sports, and any other clubs or organizations you’re “We learn more every day,” Dyken said. “We can define in. Stress does make it harder to sleep, and not just for kids and treat more and more cases as time goes by.” with sleep disorders. I think stress can prevent anyone from

“In the past week, I’ve slept a total of about thirty minutes.”

September 27, 2013 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

5


12


This year, the theater department will present The Foreigner in October and Oliver, the musical, in April. By Ellen Carman

I

n choosing City High’s productions for at schools that are extremely hard to get into,” She the year, Drama teacher Troy Peters had said. “City High has been way more influential to take into account his combination of than I thought it would be in planning what I want talented female singers and strong male to do with the rest of my life.” character actors. The unique mix of tal- Even just as a high school activity this ent is part of the reason City High Dra- career takes a certain level of dedication. ma department will be performing The Foreigner “In Once Upon a Mattress it took me in the fall and the musical Oliver in the spring. probably a solid month of just sitting in my bath This group of thespians includes many tub memorizing lines. It was a little awful,” Foster seniors who have been involved in theater since ‘14 said. “The hardest part for me is that I am afraid their freshman year and are stepping into leader- to let people down. When you are performing you ship positions for their final City High produc- want to do your best. Anyone who says ‘I don’t tions. care’ is joking or just “I want to show kidding themselves.” the freshmen how they These productions Don’t be afraid might just come out just also involve many to get involved in somemore people than just to make a fool of thing but it could turn those who appear on yourself. Don’t into to this whole other stage. Burke will be in thing that they dedicate charge of light design be afraid to be their entire high school this year. yourself becareer to,” light designer “I listen to the songs Gretchen Burke ‘14 said. over and over again cause everyone “Everyone has a good until I’m really familis going to love experience with it and iar with them and use it’s really welcoming. the lights to accent big you. You would be surprised hits in the song,” She how sad you are when its said. “You can kind of over.” feel it.” Elena Foster ‘14 While the end Seniors that will be inis approaching for these volved in the producseniors, they still have a tion of The Foreigner school year to take advanin October and Oliver tage of the new shop space that has the potential to in April hope to have many newcomers join them. allow sets to be bigger and more complicated. “Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Don’t “Because we have had such limited space be afraid to be yourself because everyone is going on the wings, we’ve had to be very creative with our to love you. Especially if you are in theater because set,” Peters said. “Now we will have more space and everyone there is pretty weird, so you will fit right we will be able to do bigger sets without feeling like in,” Foster said. “Don’t be afraid to try new things.” we are squeezed into one area.” Ostrem agrees and adds that the theater This will be a drastic change from the group is diverse. 2011 production of Peter Pan where a pirate ship “The people involved in theater are also had to double as an underground home. involved in so many other things. The theater com Some seniors also plan to ‘go big’ and try munity brings in people from all different areas of to make it in theater after high school. Amy Os- the school and it’s really nice to see those people trem ‘14 plans to major in musical theater and ac- come together and support one another,” Ostrem credits her dreams to the lessons she learned from said. “It’s a way of making friends that maybe freshmany recent alumni. man year you never thought you would be friends “They taught me to not settle for some- with.” thing less than I can do. They pushed me to look

September 27, 2013 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE 7


Freshman Survival Guide

You’re going be here for the next four years. You’ll have an awesome time at City, if you follow these simple guidelines. by Sonali Durham and Abby Dickson

1: Social Networking

2: Strive for Greatness

Make worthwhile tweets. Nobody wants to see another depressing, melodramatic tweet. Write a poem about microwaves, give a detailed explanation of the history of erasers, or whatever else floats your boat instead, and you’re guaranteed to make interesting friends. You CAN overdo it with Instagram selfies.

Your grades actually do count. Surprising as this may be, don’t underestimate the homework. If you keep up a good work ethic all year, you will get the grades you want. And trust us, you want good grades.

Social media is amazing. You can communicate with friends, find some amazing stuff, and learn about current events, but unfortunately, all we get to see on it is (drumroll) teenagers taking hundreds upon hundreds of “selfies.” We get that you’re lookin’ pretty cute, so naturally you want to document it, but 20 selfies a day (or a week, or a month) is too much.

3: Phonies

Half an inch of eyeliner on your lower lid is a LITTLE BIT too much. You may think people dig the raccoon look, but... not so much. Don’t get a bad fake tan. If you’re going to do it, do it right. A fake tan is better than actually going tanning, but a bad one can look Oompa-Loompa-esque.

5: Go Outside the Box

6: Locker Maintenance

Do something exciting every day. Be adventurous. Mistakes can be fixed. Be creative. There’s nothing wrong with being dorky. It sounds incredibly cheesy, but it’s true. If your friends don’t like you for your true self, then they shouldn’t be your friends any more. Batman is awesome though, be Batman if you can. Remember, you were an eighth grader not too long ago. And the sophomores were freshmen once, too. Don’t let them get you down.

This stuff should be a review from junior high, but – a surprising number of people seem to have forgotten proper locker etiquette after a long summer on the loose. Remember your locker combination(s). Keep your locker clean to avoid disembowelment at the hands of your locker partner. Don’t leave clothes in your locker. It’s not your personal closet, and we can smell it when you treat it that way.

4: What Not to Wear

Don’t dress like you’re going clubbing when in reality, you’re walking to science class. Trust us, you don’t look as cool as you think you do. People are silently judging you. GUYS: Socks and sandals are pretty bad, unless you were just working out (or have a foot condition).

7: Smelly Stuff

FOR GUYZ One spray of Axe is more than enough to suffocate every person in a ten mile radius. FOR GURLZ Don’t spray the entire hallway with your perfume.

8: The Best Part of the Day

Just because you can buy pizza every day for lunch doesn’t mean you should. Bringing lunch from home may make you feel like a second grader, but it can be healthier and less expensive.

9: Be You Don’t be afraid to get into things you like. Unless you like punching kittens in the face. Don’t do that.

8 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

September 27, 2013

10: Hallway Manners You may think backpacks are lame, but you won’t when you drop all your stuff down the stairs and cause a traffic jam. And while we’re on the topic of hallways: do not stand in clumps in the hallways. Ever. Be cool. Always walk on the RIGHT side of the hallway. Always. Seriously. And don’t shriek every time you see your friend in the hall. It’s really not necessary. Don’t make out with your BF/GF in the hallway for your week anniversary, ya nasties. We know that you love each other and that you’re going to be together forever, but nobody wants to see two people having a heavy makeout session on the way to World History.


HOMECOMING COURT 2013

Can you match each homecoming royalty to their responses? Find the correct matches on the back of the LH Feature Magazine.

Emma Greiman

Greg Gier

Morgan Sammons

Jacob Buatti

Ellie Benson

Omar Shaban

Gretchen Burke

Kole Butler

Elena Foster

Joe Pugh

Emma McIntire

Braxton Bell

Addie Bockenstedt

Danny Burian

Micah Cabbage


If you could be an animal what would you be?

Favorite CHS memory

Hidden Talents

Something people might not know about you

A: Tiger, they’re bad and they know it

A: Becoming the most successful group in 4th Ave history my junior year

A: It’s rumored that I can belly dance better than Shakira...

A: I share the same birthday with my mom

B: A Dugong, because they’re the prettiest animal ever

B: The formation of the Gorgle Crew

B: Underwater basket weaving

B: I have a birthmark on my chin

C: The Arabian Desert Camel, they are so awesome

C: The formation of the Gorgle Crew

C: Being a Bro

C: I was born in Egypt

D: I would be a Mega Shark because I want to battle a giant octopus!

D: Freshman year Mr. Rogers class when Amy Ostrem stood on her desk and said “O’ captain my captain!” E: Spain, every moment spent with Mary Kelly, and the night I asked Kole Butler for the math homework

D: I can blow bubble rings underwater

D: N/A

E: I can tie cherry stems in my mouth

E: I got a perm last year

F: A cat because they’re cute I guess

F: The time I balled so hard I swear I thought I was Kobe

F: Making beats

F: I’m Jewish

G: Giraffe, they are so tall like me

G: When Lexi Wichman hung out of the window on the way home from the MVC Super Meet last year

G: Making people feel uncomfortable

G: I have Tourette’s Syndrome

H: I’d be a moose because they are pretty chill and have cool antlers

H: Winning 3 grand champion titles at show choir competitions and making 4th Ave history

H: I’m a skip-it pro

H: I was born in Des Moines and moved to Iowa City in 1st grade

I: A baby sloth because they’re really beautiful, but I can’t grow up because adult sloths are just gross

I: Getting lost with Maddie Donahue in New York on St. Patty’s Day

I: Correcting people’s grammar by verbally assaulting them

I: I write songs on piano and guitar

J: Flamingo because they’re pretty cool

J: 14 hour bus rides to New York City!

J: Early-bird ultimate frisbee

J: I’m a vegetarian

K: A Polar bear because they are fierce and fluffy

K: Beating West High at the Super meet last year

K: Hula hooping

K: I am from Canada

L: I would be an otter because they are quick and good swimmers, and also cute

L: That one time I saw Greg Grier in the hallway and we dapped each other up like it was 1996

L: I am a semi-decent dancer

L: I went to Regina up until junior high

M: A porcupine because why not

M: Getting super off track in Burkle’s class everyday

M: I do a mean tree twerk

M: I’m a closet Disney song addict

N: A Lemur, Lemurs are cool

N: Bonding with Chip

N: Eating a gallon of ice cream in one sitting

N: I got a mullet sophomore year for XC

O: I’d be a pterodactyl because they’re sweet, and they could fly

O: When Sam Buatti and I would do flips off of each other during lamb thrash at the football games

O: I’m a man of many talents. I can make a clover with my tongue, flare my nostrils, and wiggle my ears

O: That I’m in love with Justin Timberlake

E: Whale because they are majestic and I love the ocean

10 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

September 27, 2013


FOR MORE NEWS COVERAGE GO TO:

www.thelittlehawk.com

September 27, 2013 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

11


WHO’S WATCHING YOU?

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By Jacob Potash

W

ho’s watching you?” was once a relatively simple question. Apart from someone peeking through a keyhole, or hiding in a bush, you could answer the question with a simple glance around. But as our lives become more and more mediated by sophisticated technology, old assumptions no longer hold: words can now be frozen and preserved forever; moments can be photographed and shared instantly; activity can be monitored invisibly. Today’s teenagers round out the Millennial Generation. They’ve had to navigate uncharted territory as they navigate a new “normal” for communication and privacy. How much do they know about who’s watching them? And who is watching them, anyway? Tiara Phillips is a senior who uses the typical array of online services: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine. (Snapchat is another application popular among high school students.) Phillips is not worried about keeping her posts private from strangers. There is one group that she tries to avoid, though: family. “I block most of my family on Facebook,” Phillips said, “and if they follow me on Twitter, I tend to block them too. It’s just weird!” She says she does censor herself sometimes – she avoids being “too wild” in pictures – if only for the sake of her coworkers and boss. There are also students who do not need to censor themselves – but only because they don’t use social media sites. Senior Eric McDonald, for example, has only a Facebook account, and rarely logs in. “Twitter is just a phase, and so is Facebook really – it comes on for a year, then it goes,” McDonald explains. “So I figure there’s no point in me doing it really. I have no desire to become socially intertwined with all this junk, you know?” Schools have struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. Take, for example, the Iowa City Community School District’s technology policy, adopted in 1999 and revised in 2008. The policy outlaws a long list of activities – among them “instant messaging,” “playing non-educational games,” “excessive personal emailing

or web surfing,” and “accessing social networking sites for personal use.” According to the policy, infractions could result in “ loss of... privileges, suspension or expulsion, and/ or legal action.” In daily practice, the school takes a much more lenient attitude toward technology use. Dean of Students Doug Lestina claims that administrators are also relaxed about keeping tabs on the content of social media postings. “There’s no preemptive monitoring,” Lestina says. “We don’t get on Facebook to see whether ‘this’ kid is doing anything bad.” That’s not the full story of administration involvement, however. If an offense is reported to the school, Lestina says, administrators can and do use social media to investigate the problem. The three most common categories of behavior that come under the administration’s purview are (1) using social media to threaten or harass, (2) surfing pornography, and (3) using websites that are otherwise inappropriate. Examples of the last category could include using proxy sites to to reach a page blocked by the school’s Safe Search system. Lestina says he and colleagues deal with 15 to 20 cases per year that require administrators to use social media as evidence of harassment. Not all cases of online harassment merit disciplinary action, though. Administrators only get involved if the behavior disrupts the school day. Lestina does, however, try to counsel students on how best to handle unpleasant online attention, even when it falls outside of the school’s scope of authority. When it comes to teacher-student online interaction, there is no district-wide policy. It is general practice for teachers to wait to “friend” students till after graduation. Lestina abides by this custom. “You’ve gotta kinda be ignorant a bit, or you’ll be stressed and concerned all of the time,” Lestina said. The average student may not need to worry about scrutiny from school administrators, but privacy concerns surrounding college and employment loom large in many teenagers’ minds. Phillips and McDonalds had sharp words on the subject. “If you’re applying to a college with your good grades and your work ethic, and you do volunteer work or whatever you’ve done,” Phil-

lips said, “I don’t think what you do in your free time should matter.” “[Employers] shouldn’t make any major decisions over it, because I don’t feel like that’s the company’s business,” he said. “The company’s business is between the interviewer and the boss.” But according to Jeff Blevins, who leads the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Journalism, social-media searches on job applicants have become standard practice. And the kicker? There’s not much anyone can do about it. “A lot of people assume that we have this kind of absolute right to privacy, and we don’t,” Blevins said. “Many people assume that that’s kind of implicit in the 4th amendment of the Constitution, but it doesn’t address the kind of information that we willingly put out there online about ourselves. And that’s really kind of the vexing thing. We are our own worst culprits, if you will.” The only major restriction on a social media company, according to Blevins, is the terms-of-service agreements that every user agrees to when they sign up for an account. “Really what the terms of service is, is that in order to use the service for free, they can collect your personal information and do whatever they want with it,” Blevins said, “and you willingly agree to that.” The average user is not in a position to create such a contract – they can take it or leave it. And if they are eager to use a service, they will simply click “I agree.” On the college front, at least, things look more hopeful for those who don’t want adults snooping through their posts. Admissions officers seem a little more sympathetic to the teenage point of view. “It’s unrealistic to think that at Iowa, with 21,6000 apps for this fall, that we would have very much time to cruise those [social media] sites, checking them out,” Michael Barron, Director of Admissions at the University of Iowa, said. Iowa applicants’ web presence is occasionally screened, but the process is not systematic. Barron says that his office monitors only the Twitter and Facebook pages that they themselves run to connect new students. “It wouldn’t be out of the question for us to see something we thought was very interesting or curious, that somebody might post, and then we might probe more deeply, by going to their own site,” Barron said. “If we

were to see some less than favorable images of a student and his or her behavior, then, that might call into question an admission decision or impact, say, a students scholarship application.” Barron claimed he knew of many smaller colleges – with more manageable applicant numbers – that regularly looked into applicants’ social media profiles. But Tina Iyer Elfenbein, an Assistant Director Admission at Grinnell College, confirmed that Grinnell never considers applicants’ online presence in their decisions. Policies differ by school, though, and Barron had words of advice to any prospective students. “You’ve got to decide, before you post,” Barron said, “If someone that had the ability to make a meaningful decision about you were to see this, how would it reflect on you, and then how might what they see impact the decision that they’re going to make about you?” The biggest privacy news to most Americans has been the series of revelations about the NSA’s extensive monitoring that Edward Snowden’s leaks sent in motion. To high school students, though, privacy doesn’t seem to be important in and of itself, and unlike admissions officers, government officials don’t seem too threatening. “I feel like if they do know what we’re doing, I don’t think it affects us all that much, unless you’re doing drugs or something like that, then maybe,” Phillips said. “But if you’re posting a picture with your friends, like what are they going to do with that photo? Look at it? I don’t think it matters.” “I’m kind of a paranoid guy, a little bit,” McDonald said. “I know the government can get what they want, when they want it, but it’s nothing new and uncomfortable to me. As long as you’re not doing anything wrong, they won’t come for you.” Blevins advocates in favor of increased media literacy education for students, but he thinks that some simple growing up will also help young people come to peace with social media. “A lot of times, the best teacher is making a mistake. You now, you make a poor judgement, you suffer the consequences for it, and you go ‘Well, I’m not gonna do that again.’ A lot of times I think younger folks simply haven’t had the experience.”

September 27, 2013 LH FEATURE MAGAZINE

13


A Teacher Profile: By Jacob Potash

Jason Shuman Joins City High


A new teacher on his lawyer years, coming out as a teacher, and Iowa nice. It was fifteen minutes before incoming history teacher Jason Schumann was scheduled to arrive for an interview, and I, like a true journalistic star, was still thinking up questions. In he walked, holding his daughter, Finley. I excused myself for a few minutes, finished scribbling some questions, and re-entered the news lab for what turned out to be an extremely pleasant (and adorable) interview. A portion of the interview was lost – in which Mr. Schumann reflected on his time as smalltown prosecutor. He recalled feeling that putting high school students in jail wasn’t helping them; by comparison, he said, teaching is like preventative medicine – he gets to help kids make the right decisions in the first place. If he strikes you as well-spoken here, be doubly impressed: left out are baby moans, burps, and other vocalizations! – Jacob Potash Are you teaching now? I substitute taught a little bit at the beginning of the year. I was mostly at South East junior high, and then spent a couple days here, a couple days at that other school, and then I’ve been taking care of her – she was born in December, so that’s been my primary job since December, because my wife works. Come August, she’ll be in daycare, and I’ll be hanging out with you guys.

think of it as a job and approach it that way, you have a tendency to be more successful. What would be your ideal class to teach? Are you equally interested in all these areas? Absolutely. I love teaching U.S. history, world history, and government, so any combination of those three. In terms of my background, I was a history major in college, at North Carolina, and then had this choice – I could either become a teacher, like my parents, or I could go to law school, so I did my last act of childhood rebellion and went to law school. I came here to the University of Iowa, graduated, met my wife. It was very successful in that area. I moved out to Seattle, practiced law for five years, and decided I wasn’t fulfilled enough in my career, and so I went back to school and got my teaching certificate, and student-taught mostly out in Washington State for a little bit, and then moved here. My wife and I both missed it out here and wanted to start a family.

I tell people like it’s a job, if you take the AP exam. If you can be successful on the test, you then get college credit – that’s thousands of dollars in college courses that you avoid taking. I was in the same position when I was in high school. I was fortunate enough to get some of my college credit taken care of. If you can

So, when did you move back to Iowa? We moved to Davenport first a little over a year ago, and then after about six months we moved to Iowa City – about a year and a half ago. We sort of always knew that we wanted to get back to Iowa City. My wife and I loved it when we were here. We knew we were ready for an adventure when we moved out to Seattle, but in the back of our heads, we both knew that we would eventually come back, for a lot of reasons - the schools are great, it’s a smaller community than Seattle. I’ve lived in the South, I’ve lived in the Midwest, I’ve lived on the West Coast. And I just think generally people in the midwest – this is probably a common thing to say – but they’re just generally nicer than people anywhere else in the word. That’s been my experience. When did the whole application process start? I’ve been keeping my eye out since we came back, and I was substitute teaching on openings in the area, so it got posted about a month and a half ago, and I got called back for an interview and to do a thirty minute lesson. So we went through that process and found out about three weeks or four weeks ago. So this is all very recent. Yeah! I’m really looking forward to next year, learning the traditions and bringing some of my own ideas, and hopefully I think it’ll be a good fit. I know it’ll be a good fit.

What position exactly are you taking next year? It’s a social studies teacher position. There will be a combination of American studies and world history, and, I think, one success center class. Some combination of those. AP is sort of an aspiration goal. Any thoughts on the AP system? I think in general the tests expect you to know a ridiculous amount of coverage – call it a mile wide and an inch deep – and they don’t do a very good job of ensuring that students have the skills that they need to utilize their knowledge. So, I sort of have mixed feelings.

But I do think it’s critical to measure student growth and ensure that teachers are actually teaching and there’s learning taking place.

Based on what you know about standardized testing in public schools, and testing-based learning in general, do you think it’s overdone? I think it’s always important to be measuring the growth of students in terms of their learning. I think it’s overdone, because there’s a lot of learning that you can’t demonstrate through a test. For my own personal style, I like students to be doing a lot of composition work: composing stories, songs, whatever – which is maybe a little bit unusual for a social studies teacher.

Are your parents happy you’re a teacher now? I think so. It was kind of like a coming out moment, – I don’t want to equate it to coming out, because I think that’s very different, but it was sort of like this “alright, you’re admitting what we could tell and see you should have always been.” I say, it’s sort of the family business. Some people are born into a family of electricians, some people are born into the mafia. I was born into a family of teachers. What was your first impression of city high? I think I taught here the first week of school this year, and my first impression? The students were lively and funny and there was a lot of healthy diversity which I love.

September 27, 2013 LH MAGAZINE

15


#LHFEATURE

Answers from LHFeature 9-10: A) Micah Cabbage, B) Greg Grier, C) Omar Shaban, D) Jacob Buatti, E) Emma Greimann, F) Kole Butler, G) Addie Bockenstedt, H) Emma McIntire, I) Elena Foster, J) Gretchen Burke, K) Morgan Sammons, L) Joe Pugh, M) Braxton Bell, N) Ellie Benson, O) Danny Burian


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