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Can you tell us about yourself?

“My name is John Underwood. I teach U.S. History and I facilitate dual credit U.S. History at Hico High School in Hico, Texas. I have been at Hico 17 years of my 24 years in education.”

Why did you start a career in education?

“I started teaching because I had a teacher in high school that was a real big influence on me. It was my history teacher and I really enjoyed how he brought history alive and made it relevant to us at the time. So, that kind of encouraged me to go into education and I have always had a love for history.”

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

If I could do any job in the world, I have to say that I would probably be a teacher. As tough as it is somedays but it always a lot of fun. It is extremely rewarding.”

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?

“Over the last 30 years, people say kids have changed. I am not sure kids have changed. But our society has definitely changed. Kids these days are not unit tasker. You kind of have to entertain them. They do things in short spurts. They don’t have… kids used to you know sit down and read and maybe listen to the radio. Well now kids are going to read, they are going to listen to music, they are going to scan social media, they are going to be doing everything in short spurts. I think for that standpoint, kids have changed a little bit. But you know kids are still kids. They still like the same things and still enjoy the same things it just changes with every society and every generation.”

How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?

“Teaching has changed over the course of my career for that very reason. Kids need things that are going visually appealing that’s going to appeal to their senses. They kind of need to, for lack of better word, be entertained. However, that, for teachers, puts it back on us to make our lesson relevant, make our lessons meaningful and deliver lessons in such a way that it really draws the student in and grabs their attention.”

What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?

“If someone were to go into teaching, I would tell them to find your passion. Find what it is what really excites you about teaching, about kids, and about the profession and then make that your mission. Its not a job. Its not a career. It is a mission. It really is. And so, if you are going into today, make sure you are going into it for the right reasons. Its for the kids, for the benefit of the kids, for the benefit of our society.”

What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?

“One thing that I would change to help kids learn better is I would make sure all kids had access to the resources, the technology, the bandwidth, all of those things that can really bring the lessons alive for the students. Thank you very much.”

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