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Staff spotlight: Teacher hobbies

Mrs.+Brockmeyer+%28middle%29+playing+Barbara+in+the+play+%22August%3A+Osage+County.%22+She+won+the+Best+Actress+Award+for+this+role.
Mrs. Brockmeyer (middle) playing Barbara in the play

Mrs. Brockmeyer (middle) playing Barbara in the play "August: Osage County." She won the Best Actress Award for this role.

Mrs. Brockmeyer (middle) playing Barbara in the play "August: Osage County." She won the Best Actress Award for this role.

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Most of us have jobs to do, whether we like them or not, but sometimes there are certain jobs or hobbies that we get pleasure out of doing. The Patterson Mill High School staff speaks out about what hobbies they enjoy doing in their free time when they’re not teaching.

            Mrs. Brockmeyer, who is the high school drama teacher, recalls her experiences as a participant in community theater. “I started community theater 22 years ago,” Brockmeyer explains. She started working at HCC’s Phoenix Festival Theater and has since worked at four other theaters. She has held six positions as a member of community theater, but most importantly, she has been a company manager for four years. As an actor, she says,“It’s fun to be someone different.”   She describes “and it is a good creative outlet, especially working on and creating props.” Brockmeyer first became interested in theater during her senior year of high school. She auditioned for a show, but she had to quit. However, in her junior year of college, she auditioned again and loved it. Students can learn from this hobby that it is important to take risks. You can also work on your vocal performance and create a family. You get the chance to work with difficult people who may also have strong personalities. “I learn so much during shows and I bring that to my drama classes and students get a lot of inspiration.”

            Mr. Smith, who is one of the high school math teachers, has a rather unusual, but unique hobby. At his home, Smith owns a bee farm and works as a beekeeper. He gets a set of new hives around late March and early April. “We have someone that we buy them from that goes down south.” Smith says. He explains that a healthy queen bee is the key to a healthy bee colony, and says that he usually keeps five bee colonies. “They usually go out when it’s warm and the flowers are in bloom,” Smith says, “but if it’s warm in winter, there really isn’t anything in bloom.” While wearing a bee suit, he extracts the honey by using a machine called a smoker, which tricks the bees into thinking there is a fire nearby, making them come out of the hive and making them less likely to sting.  Smith took up beekeeping after his father-in-law, who formerly raised the bees, passed away and left 12 acres of land for the bees. He says that if we didn’t have bees, we wouldn’t have a lot of the food we have now. Smith has been doing beekeeping for three years, but he isn’t the only one that keeps bees. His neighbor was also interested in doing it, too. Students can learn how to raise livestock from this hobby, as well as how important bees truly are.

Mr. Smith (left) is getting ready to extract honey. He and his assistant are wearing protective bee suits.

            The assistant high school principal, Mr. Hanzelik, also has a unique hobby. From his experience as a criminal justice teacher for nine years, Hanzelik had taken an interest in learning about serial killers. “A serial killer is someone who commits three or more murders, with a cool down period in between each.” Hanzelik explains. “They usually have an intended target. They are very intelligent people and are very good at lying.” During his homicide unit in his criminal justice class, the students were given a project to study cases of killers. This included their background, their mindset, and their motives. “Think of it as when you’re young,” Hanzelik says, “how you want to take something apart to see how it works. I want to take [serial killers] apart to see why they committed murder.” With this hobby, Hanzelik encourages students to be aware of their surroundings. Don’t always take someone for granted just because they look normal. In a way, this impacts Hanzelik’s everyday job of watching people, as he looks for patterns and trends. “I’m just watching.”

            What would a teacher do should a killer come into their classroom? US History teacher Brian Spears already knows the answer. In his free time, Spears trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at team Maryland BJJ in Townson. Spears describes it as “essentially wrestling.” He enjoys this hobby because it is good exercise and it is also very challenging. He has met some pretty interesting people as well. “I wouldn’t say I’m great at it, but I find it rewarding to advance at something that is hard.” Spears became interested in training BJJ when his friend convinced him that it was fun to do. His wife also encouraged him to do it because it was challenging and it was good exercise. “I think they were trying to tell me something there,” Spears jokingly says. He thinks that from this students can learn not only to not mess with Spears, but that certain hobbies can relieve stress and challenge you. This helps his job because of the stress relief it provides. “It helps me keep calm when I have 30 or so students that don’t want to follow directions.”

Mr. Spears doing Jiu Jitsu. He is attempting to break his partner’s triangle choke.

            Special Educator Ms. Luce also relieves stress with her hobby, but in a different way. Instead of doing martial arts, Luce often runs with friends or even some of the teachers from the school. She considers herself a casual runner, but in some cases a competitive runner. “I enjoy running 5Ks and 10Ks,” Luce says, “and I like to run the Ma and Pa trail a lot.” Luce explains the primary reason that she likes to run isn’t just to go for the gold. She sees it as time to herself to think and reflect. When she was younger, Luce played a lot of sports, which gave her a purpose to run. She explains that her purpose for running now is to set a goal and work towards it. She ran her first marathon in 2014, and has since then become more serious about her running. She first became interested when a former Patterson Mill teacher talked to her about some of the benefits of running. She thinks that running can be a learning point for students in general. “School came relatively easy to me, running did not,” Luce explains, “so you can actually use this as a learning point for something that you’re not good at, and you can persevere through it.” Similar to Spears, Luce also believes that running helps her job by relieving stress. She even runs with a few other teachers from the school. “Anything is possible when you put your mind to it.”

Ms. Luce shows off her medals from her marathons. She got a little cranky (bottom right) when she wasn’t prepared for one of them!

            Some of these hobbies were a surprise to many students. It changes how most students would view their teachers. It also tells us that we shouldn’t take a teacher’s job with a grain of salt, as they may have something else that they enjoy doing more. Relating this to pop culture, most think teens spend their free time using social media or playing their online games, but sometimes we don’t look close enough. Do you have any unique or interesting hobbies?

           

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Staff spotlight: Teacher hobbies