by Will Tao
Name: James Mogge
Classes: Three CAP World History classes, two World History classes
Education: University of Missouri at Columbia
Years at Blair: Five
Previous Jobs: Teacher at different high schools in California and Maryland
Hobbies: Collecting music, attending concerts, listening to Grateful Dead, traveling
Leaning back in his office chair, James Mogge takes the time to recall his career in teaching. He places his hands behind his head, relaxed and focused on the questions at the same time. Mogge pauses for a second as he adds up the numbers in his head before revealing that he has taught at four different high schools over his 22-year career. He moves on to recollect the experiences of his life as a teacher.
At first, Mogge taught for 10 years at Richard Montgomery HS in Rockville. He went on to two other schools in California, but has enjoyed his tenure at Blair the most. Here he teaches world history and CAP AP world history. "The combination of students and staff" contribute to his pleasant experience at Blair.
Mogge says he is motivated by many factors to teach high school students. "It was probably my ability to communicate with kids," he says after thoughtful reflection, adding, "I love [history] also. It's probably a combination of both."
Whatever the reason may be, Mogge has no regrets about becoming a teacher. In fact, he is in a program to inspire others to become teachers. Mogge is part of the Teacher's Curriculum Institute, which trains thousands of future educators across the country.
Mogge has a few helpful tips for aspiring teachers. "Make sure you have observation and experience skills. It has to be an environment which can be enjoyed," he says. After a brief pause, he explains that the most important thing is to "develop your own individual teaching style as an art form because it's your art form that motivates the kids and lets you express your own thoughts."
Mogge's inspiration has hit home with at least one former student. John Goldman, another CAP history teacher, was Mogge's student years ago, but the two are co-workers now. Making such a positive difference in someone's life is what keeps Mogge going. "I get the feeling that I've inspired them in one way or other," he says.
In addition to his five current classes, Mogge has a desire to teach Ethics and Philosophy. Those classes are part of the International Relations Academy, a new program for incoming freshmen.
Eventually, Mogge aspires to retire and become a radio broadcaster. He says being a broadcaster is just something he enjoys as a hobby along with his love of music. Until that day, Mogge will be in school teaching and most importantly, inspiring kids to think.