Summer break is far from downtime for many of WC’s faculty and staff members
Ever wonder–What is it that teachers do during the summertime? We asked our own faculty this very question and the short answer is: a lot! Though fully dedicated to their roles as educators and mentors here at WC, many of our teachers have a summer side gig (or two). From pastoral work to painting, tutoring to taking care of golfers, our beloved teachers are involved in many interesting summer side gigs. Here are just a few…
Lower School Teacher Summer Side Gigs
For the past 13 summers, WC fourth-grade teacher Lucas Gantz has worked at New Albany Country Club. His normal work day there starts at 6:00 A.M. as he sets up the driving range, prepares golf carts, and loads golf bags as a service to members there. He loves being able to work outside and interact with other people. Because of COVID, he made the decision to stay home with his two children full-time this summer rather than work at NACC, but he hopes to return to the work in future summers.
For the past two summers, WC third-grade teacher Rachel Janssen has instructed online English lessons to children in China through VIPKid. Because of the geography and time difference, the classes are often early in the morning. Janssen explains that her online teaching experience provided for a smooth transition to online school this past spring. She likes this side gig and is thankful for the experience.
Upper School Teacher Summer Side Gigs
As an Upper School Christian Studies and Social Studies Teacher, Adam Heath pours himself and his faith into WC’s oldest students day in and day out during the school year. He also uses his unique gifts and teaching ability on staff at Vista Community Church. In his role at Vista, Heath helps with the teaching team (both preparing and preaching), leading worship, and helping to connect with the church’s international partnerships in Asia and Africa. He has served in this role officially for the last five years, and volunteered many years before that.
When Dawn McMahon is not sharing her passion for science with students at WC’s Upper School, she stays quite busy raising her four young daughters (and two dogs!). She also sells Rodan + Fields skincare products. She started selling R+F on the side to create a fun vacation fund for her family and to help other women feel good in the skin they’re in. She also wants to show her daughters that women really can wear multiple hats and rock them all at the same time.
This summer, Upper School science teacher Kelly Mikhail began her PhD work at Ohio State University, Department of Horticulture and Crop Sciences in Dr. David Mackey’s lab. Mikhail will be studying a bacteria that is carried by a corn flea beetle and infects corn, causing a disease called, Stewart’s Wilt. She will be researching mutant fitness in Pantoea stewartii pv stewartii by sequencing randomly bar-coded transposons during early infection in maize. She will also be visualizing the course of infection in maize leaves by fluorescent labeling of the bacteria and viewing through a specialized microscope called a confocal microscope to visually record the infection in planta.
Mikhail explains, “I love what I am doing and I am so excited to share these new techniques and research with my students. The best part is that the bacteria is not harmful to people and can be used in a classroom where I can work with students directly. My goal is to bring research opportunities to my students at WC and develop curriculum that can be used in other high school biology courses that focus on plant sciences.”
Perhaps the WC teacher with the widest range of side gigs is Upper School teacher David Stoll. At school, his role ranges from being the Media Center Director to teaching iJournalism and Study Skills to co-leading the school’s Broadcasting program. His work outside of WC is just as wide-ranging. Over the last 18 years, Stoll has been involved in summer painting work, he has taught and managed technology camps, he has led his own summer camps teaching Study Skills and Film, and he has driven the shuttle van for the Memorial golf tournament. His longest-standing side gig, though, has been as a DJ with a local company for the last 20 years.
James Storey teaches seventh grade math at WC’s Upper School. He stays busy in the summers, though, as a math tutor to many WC students, as well as students from other Christian, private and public schools in the area. This is his eighth summer of tutoring and he has students ranging in age from grades 2-12 working to improve their pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry skills.
Storey explains, “I love working with students as a teacher in a classroom but getting to work with them one on one is very unique. I get to know each individual better, watch their personalities come out, and hear stories about life as we connect on a more personal level. The amount students can accomplish one on one is tremendous. I love math and I love when kids can truly understand and master the material. I get excited when it clicks and they do too!”
Though this summer of tutoring has looked different (all sessions have taken place via online platforms instead of in-person), Storey explains that the technology has allowed more flexibility for families and students have made just as much progress in their studies.
On the first day of school each year, Upper School English teacher Joel Walton often walks into class cleaning paint flecks off of his knuckles. That’s because he spends his entire summer painting homes with the company EduPainters that he started in 2013. Over the years, several other WC teachers have worked on his crew, and his longest tenured employee is Matt Anglea, son of Tom Anglea, who is also a teacher at a local middle school.
In his own words, Walton explains, “There’s pockets of joy in all the busyness…Matt and I take pride in our work, and most customers are families from our schools, which makes for lots of life-giving interactions while we paint. I also appreciate the thought spaces that open up while painting, spaces to pray, reflect, etc.”
WC is blessed to have a faculty made up of individuals that carry unique callings, talents and passions. We are thankful for how hard they work and the sacrifices they make in order to have the profound impact that they do on our students’ and families’ lives.