Congratulations to our Walsh University Teacher of the Month, Joanne Zahler
NAME – Joanne Zahler
SCHOOL – Central Catholic High School
RESIDENCE – Massillon
HIGH SCHOOL ALMA MATER – Central Catholic
COLLEGE – Ohio University
FAMILY – Husband, Chuck Zahler
WHAT SUBJECTS DO YOU TEACH (and grade level)? – The art courses at Central are all semester classes therefore I am able to teach a wide variety of classes. I teach Art 1, 2, 3, and 4, Calligraphy, Ceramics, and a CCP (College Credit Plus) Art History. My classes are open to all students, therefore, I may have freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all in the same class. I like that.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB? – I love coming to a classroom where creativity and innovation is being experienced every day. How great is it to have multiple answers to problems and not just one correct answer? I am able to encourage mistakes and experimentation to get the students to think through the process to create the work of art on their own. The pride I see on many of their faces after doing something well and them liking it, is priceless.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF YOUR JOB? – I cringe when a student has an idea but will not try it because they think it is "too hard," I ask them how they know it is too hard if they haven't even made an attempt at creating it. Most times, the real problem is they aren't willing to put in the extra effort to work through something challenging, and that is discouraging to me.
WHAT SECRET TO SUCCESS WOULD YOU SHARE WITH YOUR STUDENTS? – I want to tell my students to work hard, give 100% to everything they do no matter how big or small the task is. The results from hard work are so rewarding, they will never be disappointed. Also, your life will be gratifying if you make good choices. Remember there are consequences, good and bad, to every decision you make; choose wisely.
IS TEACHING KIDS THE SAME TODAY AS WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED TEACHING? (Why or why not?) – With this being my 40th year of teaching here at Central, I can say I have seen many changes in myself and the kids that I do work with. No, teaching the kids today is not the same as back in 1982. I believe the advancement of technology and social media present their own set of problems in the classroom, which I did not have to deal with when I first started teaching. As far as being blessed with working with some of the best kids in Stark County on a daily basis, that has not changed since 1982. The kids and support from the parents are what make me come back day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.
YOUR STUDENTS WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT YOU ... – worked in Carrollton, Ohio, during the summer months all through high school. My parents owned a Root Beer Drive Inn in Carrollton from 1974-78. I am one of six children, and we all learned about running a restaurant and small business at "Pete's Drive Inn" (named after my father). They say experience is the best teacher; that experience taught me that I want to go to a restaurant and be served, and not do the serving! LOL
WHAT IS YOUR HIDDEN TALENT? – I love to cook. I find it to be a creative outlet for me.
IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, YOU'D BE ... – a street vendor in a warm location with a corn dog cart. I have the homemade corn dog recipe from the root beer stand days, and it makes delicious corn dogs. There is such a vendor in Lake Michigan, and the only thing they sell is corn dogs and the line is always a mile long.
AFTER A LONG DAY AT WORK, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO RELAX? – My husband and I have a small cottage up on Portage Lakes, and nothing is more relaxing than sitting on our deck by the water. It is even relaxing in the winter, watching the snowfall on the ice.