Can you tell us about yourself?
“My name is Bill Earnest. I teach at Bullhead City Middle School. I am a 6th Grade math teacher. I teach in Bullhead City, Arizona. This is my 2nd year of teaching but I have done 16 in total. I have taught for 14 in California.”
Why did you start a career in education?
“After talking to my wife and a teacher friend of mine, I was kind of wandering around in life trying to figure out what to do after doing 20 years in construction, they said you would make a great educator. I said okay, I have nothing better to do, took it up, and haven’t regretted a day since then.”
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
“I’d love to be a doctor. I am trained as an EMT and I love the field. It is just incredible. But couldn’t go to school and work at the same time. It wasn’t a possibility.”
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
“I think they are more complexed, and I think we made them that way as a society. Through education, they got to get so micro focused that they are just not as carefree as they used to be when I was little.”
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
“It is more micromanaged, for sure. I think that we are just so laser focused on things that we are kind of taking the humanness out of education and make it all about the test. Which I’m not telling anything you didn’t know.”
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
“I would pick my state very carefully. There is a lot of differences between states. I came from a state that there was a union and you were protected. I thought we were pretty rough off there. And then I moved to the state I am currently in with no unions. And things are a little rougher, you do a lot more for a lot less money. So, you might want to check your situation you are getting into, maybe compare it across a couple of different states or cities even.”
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
“I would go back to basics. Go back to regular… get away from the micro focused. Get on to grammar, get onto spelling. Go back to the basics. Teach how to write sentences. Teach how to do basic mathematics. I am kind of a believer in skill leveling as to oppose to the grade system we currently have as far as 1st, 2nd,3rd. I think we should be teaching more…let me give you an example. 3rd grade, coming out of 3rd grade or 4th grade into 4th or 5th grade. Math facts kill my kids. I think to be able to get out of a certain grade you should be able to know math facts. It would make my job as a 6th grade math teacher much more palatable and a lot easier to do. With all that said, love my job. Did construction and other stuff for almost 20 years. I have been teaching for 16. Love the job. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. That’s all I got to say. Thank you”