MARQUETTE - As the summer is winding down, students are getting ready to return to school and teachers are preparing for those students. A pair of high school teachers at North Star Academy have a little more to get ready for - they will be running their own classrooms for the first time beginning Sept. 7.
Sarah McLeod, an Upper Peninsula native and graduate of Northern Michigan University, has previously worked as a special education classroom aide since receiving her teaching certification. This fall, she will teach English and World History to freshmen and sophomores at North Star.
Finding out earlier this summer that she was going to be a teacher was a great prospect for her, McLeod said.
First year North Star Academy teacher Adam Dompierre, left, looks through textbooks in what will become his classroom this fall. (Journal photo by Claire Abent)
First year teacher Sarah McLeod, left and Dompierre listen during a professional development session at the academy. Both say they are pleased to start their first year as teachers. (Journal photo by Claire Abent)
"I really wanted to have my own classes and teach the way I wanted to teach. So I was really excited."
She said she is also excited to meet her students in the upcoming weeks and to get classes underway.
"Once we get into the swing of getting back into school, it's going to be a lot of fun," she said. "The first week is probably going to be about getting comfortable with each other."
"You can open someone's eyes or turn someone on to something they never cared about."
- Adam Dompierre, first year teacher
North Star Academy
When they leave her class at the end of year, McLeod ultimately hopes that her students want to keep learning.
"It's going to be about making sure each student is at a level where they are functioning really well," she said. "I'd really like them to want to keep learning."
Teaching world history will give her the opportunity to help her students do hands-on projects revolving around world civilizations.
"History is going to be a lot of fun because it's different. There is a lot of different things they'll be able to explore on their own."
Adam Dompierre, meanwhile, is another U.P. native. He is a graduate of both the University of Michigan and NMU. Previously, he worked as an instructional aide in Negaunee. This year, he will be teaching math, music and gym at North Star.
"I look forward to meeting the students and seeing what they are capable of," he said.
Reaching students in unusual ways is something he will strive for, since math isn't always the favorite subject of a lot of students, he said.
"I'll be trying approaching it in a different way and coming at it from a different angle," he said.
Dompierre said that he had teachers in school that helped him get through and sometimes enjoy subjects that he wasn't too keen on. This is one of the powers of teaching he hopes to pass on to his students.
"You can open someone's eyes or turn someone on to something they never cared about," he said.
Both new teachers acknowledged that they were somewhat nervous about the beginning of the year, but that they were mostly excited about being able to work with their students.
"I think whenever you go into a new situation, you are nervous," McLeod said. "But it's a good kind of nervous, just making sure you are prepared."
Dompierre said he hopes to see his students reach their potential this year.
"I think it's a great opportunity here, there's so much potential. There's a lot of potential in all these students," he said. "The emphasis is going to be on them and what they can do. Any success they have is going to be on their own. We're here to help them and sort of be that bridge."
"We're here to help them in any way we can."
For students, parents or community members interested in checking out the school before the new year starts, an open house is scheduled for North Star Academy, located at 3030 Wright St., from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday. School begins Sept. 7.
Claire Abent can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.