Meet the teacher: Andrew Hackett, Dowagiac Middle School

Educators are perhaps the greatest population of unsung heroes in Berrien and Cass County. This school year, Leader Publications will publish a weekly spotlight featuring teachers throughout the district, giving the community a chance to get to know the hard-working individuals shaping their children’s lives. Throughout the next school year, their answers will be published in the newspaper that serves each school district.

Name: Andrew Hackett

School: Dowagiac Middle School

Grade(s)/subject(s) taught: eighth grade math

Andy Hackett

Where did you attend college? Western Michigan University (undergraduate and graduate)

How many years have you been teaching? How many years have you been with your current school? This is my 13th year of teaching overall, all with Dowagiac Union Schools. This is my 10th at Dowagiac Middle School.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? Originally, I began college in an accounting program, but changed to education after I found myself helping so many of my freshman classmates with our math classes. Slowly, I discovered I had the ability to help others understand the mathematical concepts when they were confused and couldn’t understand what the professor was saying. Thus, I decided to give teaching a try and have been very happy with that decision.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I enjoy camping with my family, playing golf and working around the house.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? Students often say they are intimidated by my size, but in reality, I feel like I’m a pretty easy going and relaxed person most of the time.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Luke Skywalker because he spent his whole “life” trying to defeat evil in the galaxy and never gave up hope that there is good in people. Having a Jedi powers and a lightsaber would be pretty cool, too.

When you were a student in the grade you teach, what were your favorite hobbies? When I was an eighth grader, I enjoyed hanging out with friends at the roller rink, playing football, basketball and hockey.

How would your co-workers describe your teaching style and personality? Focused and on task with a touch of humor.

Who is your biggest role model and why? None that I can think of.

How has education changed in the last 10 years? In the last 10 years, I feel as though our society has become so reliant on technology that we immediately want to Google something when we don’t know the answer. While I find myself going to Google for answers at times, I feel as though students are going to Google for answers instead of trying to think for themselves or reason their way through the situation/problem first.

What is your best advice to parents to help their child continue growing academically? Communicate. My best advice is to never stop talking to your child. Children today have so many different challenges in their lives socially and academically and sometimes they just need someone to listen to their successes/struggles and to give them understanding and support when needed.

If my students learn one thing this year, I hope it is … to become a better person, whether it be academically or personally. I want all my students to say at the end of the year they are better because of one thing they accomplished this year.

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