Teacher Spotlight: Kevin Braaten

Presenting Berea-Midpark High School’s Kevin Braaten for the June Teacher  Spotlight!

BraatenKevin Braaten has taught Social Studies at Berea-Midpark High School for ten years.  Braaten earned his bachelor’s degree in History and Secondary Education at Baldwin-Wallace College and his Masters’ Degree in Education from Marygrove College.  He just finished his sixteenth year as a teacher and has taught a variety of courses and diverse groups of students over the course of his career.  He teaches American History, World History and AP Government at Berea-Midpark and is also the Girls’ Basketball Coach . Braaten feels very fortunate to be able to work with kids at a variety of levels and activities. In his own words, “Our district is a great one in which to work and my family also lives here so it is special to me.”

What inspired you to become a teacher?
The opportunity to work with kids every day-they keep us young and inspire us to do good job every single day in the classroom. I have had some great teachers, especially in the area of Social Studies, so I have had some great role models.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

To see kids excited to learn. This may not happen every day or with every kid, but you can see when kids are motivated and excited and this is something that makes every teacher smile!
What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?

The changes brought about in public education. It is sad to me that many people view our profession in such a negative light. We work hard at our jobs and the only thing that we ask is that we be viewed as valuable to our communities and states.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate primary sources and/or technology in your lessons?
I am fortunate to have a class set of netbooks every day in my classroom. This allows us to implement technology every day. I have tried to institute a “paperless”  room or at least minimize the use of paper. We use Moodle and Google Docs to turn in assignments. Primary sources are now available for use online and I use several sites. The two that come to mind the most are our National Archives site and teachinghistory.org.
What is the most important thing you learned in your teacher education program?
The value of time management and organization. I have to say that this has been a learning process for me and does not always come naturally. I still refer back to some things I learned from my program at BW 17 years ago!
What advice would you give a student interested in becoming a Social Studies teacher?
Go for it!! If you have a passion for teaching children and for the subject you will love to come to work every day. I know there is a lot of negativity when it comes to teaching today but ignore the naysayers and pursue your passion for children.