Baker, James

May 1, 2003, midnight | By Allison Elvove | 17 years, 8 months ago

Name: Mr. James Baker
Subjects: Algebra I and II at Blair and football coach at Rockville High School
Education: High School: South Hagerstown High School; College Graduated From: Muhlenberg
Degrees in Chronological Order: Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Muhlenberg College; Teaching Certificate in Physical Education at Frostburg College; Masters in Physical Education at George Washington University; Certification to Teach Math by M.C.P.S.
Previous Jobs: Chronological Order: Worked at Boys Athletic Camps in the Summer; Coaching football, basketball, track, and golf teams
Came to Blair in: 2002
Hobbies: Working around the house, building things
Extracurricular Activities: Playing golf, going to sporting events

Math teacher and football coach James Baker sits at his desk in room 248 at Montgomery Blair High School, concentrating on papers while murmurs fill the room. Baker leads a different life from most teachers. Not only does he teach three periods of Algebra I and II at Blair, but he also travels to Rockville High School, where he is a teacher of three additional classes as well as a football coach.

Baker used to coach at Wheaton High School but left to pursue part time teaching positions at Rockville and Blair that began this fall. "I was encouraged to come here by Mrs. Hofman, who I met when I was teaching summer school," says Baker. He is pleased with his decision, saying, "I'm enjoying my job here very much."

When comparing and contrasting Blair to South Hagerstown, the high school he attended, Baker discovers that there are many differences. "Blair is much bigger, one thousand more students," Baker says. "My school was like a community school," he continues, adding that it was the only high school in the area.

He also addresses the nature of the students. "Things were a lot more conservative then," he explains: students had shorter hairstyles and stricter dress codes. However, Baker acknowledges that in general, students have not changed much over the years; they are still just as friendly.

After a pause, Baker remembers the Board of Education approving the use of televisions to teach students geometry and history in high schools. Baker notes that this technique is no longer used. He adds that another contrast between the two schools is the expansion of the curriculum, especially in math. "We're teaching things in Algebra I we had in Algebra II."

Baker did not expect to be a math teacher. In eleventh or twelfth grade, he wanted to become a football coach. However, since an education credential was required, he began thinking about a career as a teacher
and followed through with it. Baker thinks that he made the right decision because he enjoys working "one-on-one with the students."

When he was younger, Baker enjoyed helping his fellow classmates with math, and he continues to help students as a teacher. For Baker, teaching can be challenging when he does not have the cooperation and attention of every student to "learn the subject matter."

However, he is persistent in his teaching methods. "Keep trying until you find something that is successful," says Baker. When the students listen and understand the lesson, his job becomes fun and rewarding. "[To] finally get [the] cooperation of the class and get them to focus in on what you're trying to teach," says Baker, is the best accomplishment. He adds, "And that is hard to do." However, after 35 years, Baker still enjoys teaching and challenging students to do their best.

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Allison Elvove. Allison Elvove was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2004-2005 school year. She wrote more than 70 articles while on the staff and supervised 40 student journalists, editing articles on a daily basis. During her time as editor, Silver Chips Online won the … More »

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