The teacher trio: “from a playground setting to a classroom setting”

Olivia Longmore, Staff Reporter

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The Gering high school teacher staff brings a wide variety of culture to the community. These educators have a wide variety of experiences, which is beneficial since, after all, they will shape the minds of the next generation. Some teachers, such as Amanda Dietrich, have studied abroad for further education. Every unique experience allows for a broader education, including the staff members that received his or her diploma from Gering high school. Three of these educators even graduated within two years of each other: Andrew Stobel, Tyler Thompson and Kristian Schank. In fact, they were close friends throughout their high school years. Many Gering students know of their friendship as each of the three classrooms contains a picture of the three teachers posing just as they had while in high school. Schank states, “I often joke that we’ve shared more time together than with our own wives.”

This young group were best friends since their elementary school years. Thompson elaborates stating, “We’ve known each other since we were six. We’ve been together for each milestone of each other’s lives: graduation, marriage, birth of children. We’ve shared it all.” Both Thompson and Stobel agreed that one of their most potent elementary school memories was playing an invented game called “tornado” in Stobel’s backyard.

However, not all memories were as pure hearted as we might think of our teachers. For example, Thompson also recalls, “Mr. Schank and I almost got arrested in elementary because we were throwing dirt at cars in fifth grade.” The memories and experienced restarted when the three of them started a career together in the Gering high school. Thompson and Stobel reminisced the year that Schank was hired into the open social studies position and was offered an assistant speech coach job. Thompson states, “It was the first time the three of us had been on the team together since high school that was a dream team year for speech. It was a neat experience to get to share.” They were all delighted by this opportunity to teach alongside two of their lifelong best friends. Stobel states that “it’s one of those rare opportunities that i don’t think many people enjoy. To take it from a playground setting to a classroom setting.”

This unique situation comes with a slightly different culture involved. For example, it is not uncommon for each of them to make an appearance in one another’s classes for a short period of time, whether that be to discuss a tactic of teaching or bring up an old joke. In the student body, Thompson is known for sharing stories of the three’s high school shenanigans. High school student Emilyann Kaup states, ”Mr. Thompson talked about his girlfriends in high school, but when I asked Mr. Schank he went on a rant about how that never happened. It was just really funny; we’d here stories from one and talk about it with another teacher.” These short anecdotes introduces the idea that while the workplace is a professional setting, it doesn’t mean that fun and friendships aren’t allowed. Stobel states, “The collaboration is easier to approach each other with ideas. We can be honest and blunt with each other with ideas, but also the energy and excitement that comes together with working together can make a fun and inviting atmosphere for students to learn in.”

Their unique high school and teacher experiences through the years has brought a new dynamic into Gering high school. They not only enhanced the student body’s culture, but also shaped its education curriculum. Every educator’s experience helps to broaden students’ horizons, but there is no other situation quite like the one that this teacher trio has incorporated into our own Gering high school.

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