Peter Davis, Special Education Teacher, Charlottesville High School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I believe the most challenging aspect of my job is balancing all of the routine responsibilities of planning, grading, paperwork, etc while working daily with students who present unpredictable circumstances. As teachers, we can get to school early or stay late planning on checking off a ton of items of the to-do list only to be greeted by a student at our door waiting to get extra help on an assignment or needing assistance with a personal dilemma. Flexibility and a good sense of humor is key!
What’s the most common misconception about your job?
After teaching for ten years, the only real misconception I can think of running into is that teaching high school is more difficult than teaching younger students. Thankfully we’re all wired differently, because I don’t think I’d be able to keep my sanity teaching in an elementary school! In order for this system to work, we all have to serve where we best fit.
Where do you see the teaching field in five years?
The world is changing at lightning speed and we are preparing students for jobs which don’t even exist at this time. As the world is pushing further into the digital age, I have been personally trying to slow my world down a bit and I’ve been trying to find ways to do the same for my students so that we hopefully don’t dive too far too quickly. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is by starting a school garden here at CHS and giving students a chance to get outside, interact with nature, and learn problem-solving and teamwork skills without having to stare at a screen. The future of education will most definitely involve higher levels of technology usage, but hopefully we can balance it with face-to-face interactions and connections with the physical world around us.
What outside experience best prepared you to become a teacher?
My mother was a PTO president, teacher, administrator, and school board member for 16 years. She even has a school named after her in Chesterfield, so you could say that it’s in my blood! I also had the privilege of working with youth through church and nonprofit work as well as getting started in education as an instructional assistant.