Students in Ms. Becker’s Honors Geometry and AP Calculus classes are expected to always provide solid justification for their answers. Becker acquired her strong logical reasoning skills through her practice as a lawyer
Now, she uses the skills she acquired while working at a law firm in her classroom.
“In every subject, not just geometry, you have to justify your conclusions; justify why you’re solving the problem the way you’re solving it,” Becker said. “There’s a lot of logical reasoning involved which overlaps a lot with what I used to do.”
Not knowing what to do with her life after college, Becker decided to go to law school and proceeded to work at a law firm for the next six years.
“I was a lawyer for about six, seven years. I hated it, it wasn’t for me,” Becker said. “It’s not my personality at all.”
Becker found herself Googling how to become a high school math teacher because of the dread she felt working at a law firm.
She decided to take a risk and pursue teaching. She went back to school, got her masters in education from DePaul University, and now considers it one of the best decisions she’s made.
Students at Lane also view teachers’ prior experience as being beneficial to the classroom.
“The more experience and knowledge a teacher has, the capacity for teaching greatly improves,” said Michael Kurowski, Div. 968.
Other teachers at Lane have had experiences similar to Becker’s.
Before pursuing teaching, Mr. Batt, a chemistry teacher, worked for a pharmaceutical company on the North Shore.
He decided to leave the industry because the company was doing science for money and not research. Batt said he wanted to do science to advance human knowledge of the world.
“It wasn’t causing patient issues,” Batt said. “I just didn’t agree with the processes they were doing. I felt that coming back to academia was where I really wanted to be anyway.”
Batt says he enjoys working at Lane and would never go back to working in the industry. Like Becker, Batt takes things he learned from his previous job and employs them in the classroom.
“Some of the things like the write-ups that they’re doing, those ideas come from the industry,” Batt said.
Batt’s students know all about his experience working for the pharmaceutical company. His students enjoy listening to stories about the industry and how science works outside of the classroom.
“He doesn’t talk about anything that he doesn’t know or hasn’t experienced himself, said Elizabeth Palumbo, Div. 961. “He draws a lot of his own education/experience and uses it in order to ensure that we understand the material.”
Palumbo had Batt for Chemistry and Biochemistry. She believes she benefits from having Batt as a teacher, as his experience brings new ideas into the classroom.
Mr. Polley went from working as an interior designer and senior salesman for Ralph Lauren Home to working as a world language and social science teacher.
“I didn’t like the way I behaved or what was expected of me to do to make money for the company,” Polley said. “I decided then and there that I needed a job that would give back to society rather than to an individual.”
Polley’s previous experiences have given him confidence and creativity, which, Polley believes, are important qualities to possess as a teacher.
Switching jobs or careers is not uncommon. Many Americans switch careers now more than ever, according to The Balance Careers website.
There is a lot of pressure on students to choose the right major: one that will lead them to a successful life. The reality is that most students at the age of 18 don’t know what they want to pursue later in life. In fact, almost 80 percent of college students in America tend to switch their major at least once, according to “Borderzine.”