“Into the Classroom” event gives Phi Alpha Theta insight into teacher experiences


Lauren Reid

The event on GrizzOrgs. “Into the Classroom” allowed attendees a glimpse into teachers’ experience in the field.

Joseph Popis, Sports Reporter

On Jan. 19, OU’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, an American honors society for undergraduate and graduate students as well as professors studying history, hosted an event giving students insight into the classrooms of middle school and high school teachers. Aimed at students aspiring to become educators, the event offered the opportunity to hear directly from people in the field.

“Well, most history students plan on being history teachers eventually,” Jonah Kubicek, vice president of the chapter, also known as the National History Honor Society, said. “So this was a career-focused event. In the past, when we’ve had career panels, we’ve brought in people from the education department, which is valuable.”

Current high school and middle school teachers were brought in to participate in this event (rather than OU professors) because the organization thought it would be more beneficial for students to hear from teachers currently in school settings.

“We have to keep in mind that Oakland professors have not been in a high school or middle school classroom in 10 years for most of them,” Kubicek said. “For this panel, we brought in current teachers at the high school and middle school level to give us insight into what being in a classroom looks like as opposed to the administrative part.”

Hosted online in a “Jeopardy!” panel format, teachers were invited to select a category and share their experiences based on what they had selected.  These categories included: classroom management, lesson planning, historical fun facts, teaching philosophy, interview advice and coworker interactions.

Teachers were also encouraged to share any insight they may have as to creating a conducive environment for student success. Some common ideas that teachers mentioned were being vulnerable, listening to students, empowering students to have a voice within the classroom, expressing understanding, having an open-door policy and creating a safe environment where students want to come to class.

“It was obviously a very informative event,” Tessa Janish, president of the National History Honor Society, said. “Our goal was to ask questions that students maybe didn’t feel comfortable asking their professors. I think we got a lot of useful information about the not-so-professional side of things.”

Teaching is an important field, and this event emphasizes just how much by highlighting concepts that go beyond the basics.

“We got a lot of information about how to deal with students who are not grasping the material or how to deal with coworkers with whom you might not get along with,” Janish said. “[It’s also important to remember], teaching is an important field. And I think this event really highlighted how important it is, especially in the time that we’re in right now.”

Classroom management was an important aspect of the discussion at this event. Disciplining and handling students happens in various ways. Eighth-grade middle school teacher at Success Academy Charter Schools, Anthony DeMaggio, discussed how he enacts disciplining or handling classroom management.

“If your class is fun, that shouldn’t be an issue,” DeMaggio said. “I have found that well, first of all, any new teacher wants to be popular, they want to be the most liked, most sought after teacher, and you will learn very fast that that does not work.”

DeMaggio highlighted the significance of consistency with students, and how it has assisted him in classroom management situations.

“You have to be consistent, and you have to be their teacher,” DeMaggio said. “You are not those kids’ friends, and it’s very hard to realize that at first because I think I’m an amiable person, so dealing with that. If you are consistent, it will eventually level out to a point where it is like one-off situations but consistency — that’s how I would say it.”

Students interested in joining the National History Honor Society or attending future events should visit Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society.