The Canton Charge, powered by the Cleveland Cavaliers, are excited to announce May’s winner of the Most Valuable Teacher of the Month presented by WGU Ohio is Mike Stadulis from Lake High School.
Mr. Stadulis teaches 9th grade history at Lake High School and also coaches the Girls’ Basketball team at Marlington High School. He is a wonderful teacher that makes the classroom a really fun and engaging environment. Mr. Stadulis is a teacher that makes sure his students understand and are able to apply history to real world events.
Following the announcement, Mr. Stadulis took a moment to reflect on what he enjoys about teaching and how the pandemic has just continued to help him grow.
- How have you been adapting to teaching in a new ways during these times and continuing to connect with the students
Here at Lake High School we were in-person teaching for the entire year. Yes, the masks were annoying, but we worked through it. The pandemic and its challenges is something that teachers, students, parents, and administrators all had to face this year. We all rolled with it. Teachers adapted their lessons to deal with social distancing and with students in quarantine. Everyone was on board, and we worked really well together. The crazy thing will be when I actually get to see some of my students next year unmasked; I may not recognize them! I personally just tried to be myself. I like to think that my classroom is a place where students feel comfortable and actually enjoy being there. I try to connect with students whether it is through music, sports, gaming, or whatever their interests are. History and Pop Culture, the classes I teach, are great subject areas that make it easy to connect with students. Overall I thought the year went really well.
- What has been the most meaningful moment in your teaching career?
I have had so many meaningful moments in teaching it’s hard to pick just one. The one thing that always stands out to me, though, occurs at graduation. Teachers are encouraged to attend and now be part of the ceremony. Before the actual ceremony, I mingle with the students who are lined up waiting, and it is so cool to see everyone. My favorite students are the ones who maybe didn’t have the easiest of times during their school years. I can recall one at-risk student who I had during his 9th grade year. After a ton of hard work and some very stressful times, that student finally made it to graduation. I saw him before lineup, and he gave me a big hug and thanked me for helping him through his first year. He then informed me that he was planning on going to college and he wanted to be a history teacher. That was all I needed. The look on his face and the opportunity to say hi and congratulate him is what teaching is all about.
- What is something you look forward to doing with your students every year?
In World Studies, there is one particular event that I look forward to every year. It is our military show-n-tell day. On this day, students are encouraged to bring in items from family members who have been involved in our military. Over the years, I have had some amazing things brought in. It is a really effective way for kids to see how some of the events we are talking about in class have directly affected them. Not only do the students bring in items, but they also tell the stories that go with the item or with their relative. I will never forget the student who brought in a letter from his grandfather who was stationed at Pearl Harbor. The date on the letter was December 5, 1941, just two days prior to the attack. I believe that if students can be connected to history in a more personal way, they will learn more about and from history.
- What is a way that has stood out in which you were supported or learned from your fellow teachers and how important is that support system especially in these times?
One of the best things about teaching at Lake is the support system that we have within our faculty and staff. I know that within the social studies department we all work together and share as much as possible. My fellow World Studies teachers constantly bounce ideas off each other and collaborate on lessons. If something came up that was Covid related, for instance, my fellow teachers were always ready to help out. This would include things like covering a class on a free period or making sure a sub understood a lesson. My fellow staff members always look out for each other, but especially during this past challenging year.