ExSITESment Awaits For JB Alumni
November 1, 2019
Life is all about a journey: it can take you anywhere in the world and allow you to experience new surroundings. For Mr. Colby Sites (Faculty), his journey took him back to his hometown school to pursue student teaching.
At first, Sites wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school. He kept changing his mind until he finally came up with an idea.
“I always liked the idea of helping people. My original idea was that I wanted to be a therapist, but then I quickly changed that to a massage therapist,” said Sites. “Finally in fifth grade, I made the decision that maybe if I took history and wanting to help other people and applied that together, the first thing that I came up with was a teacher.”
His inspiration of becoming a History teacher comes from his fifth grade teacher.
“In fifth grade, I was at Mountain View Elementary [School] and I had this awesome fifth grade teacher,” Sites explained. “She taught us the Civil War, and I loved it. I loved learning about the Civil War. I loved how she taught it to us, just hearing all the information – the great battles, the great military men, the beards – it was all fascinating to me.”
Sites was not placed at James Buchanan originally, but instead at New Oxford Middle School; however the cooperating teacher chose not to have a student teacher. He tried another school and that, too, did not pan out for him. Finally, he was told that he could go to Bermudian Springs, but he asked Mr. Lum to see if he could be a student teacher for him and the rest is history.
From the time that he graduated from JB in 2015, he always felt a personal connection to this school.
“The reason why I wanted to come back to JB was I always loved this school ever since I’ve been here,” he said. “I praise this school and the students that are here.”
According to Sites, the most important thing about being a teacher is being able to connect and relate to students. To do so, he tries to find ways to start conversations with them.
“Me wearing crazy socks creates a conversation and creates a relationship with students that stems from honest questions,” said Sites. “I think the best way to relate to students is being honest with them. I try to be a good upstanding person, and I try to put other people first.”
Another thing that Sites strives to do is be a little different from other teachers. He explained that there is a “cliche” of when you see a teacher. He said that the first thing that comes to mind is the way they look like or how they dress. So in order to stray from the typical stereotype, he comes up with ideas on how to be unique.
“I like being creative and I like expressing myself. I think everything I own I try to have a story associated with it,” said Sites. “I always strive to be a little different. So socks and ties is just one way that gives me the ability to express myself.”
One interesting fact that Sites explained to his students at the beginning of the school year is that he does not get paid for being a student teacher. To Sites, being able to spend time with his students and interacting with them is more important than money.
“I enjoy waking up every day and coming to class,” he said. “I dread the amount of preparation and all of the grading that I have to do, but there’s rarely a day where I regret coming into class and seeing my students and engaging with them.”
Recently, Sites was given the opportunity to go to the James Buchanan Middle School, where he will be doing some teaching in a History class. Nonetheless, he still plans on staying within the district.
“My short-term plan is that I will start substituting around the building, that way I get my foot in the door and still be in the school district,” said Sites. “I get to see all of the kids that I had in class and I still get to do what I love. There will be a couple of positions that will be open around the Tuscarora School District that I will be applying for.”
Sites’ last day is on Friday, November 1st, which means that his time at JB is soon coming to an end.
“On my last day, I don’t know how I’m going to feel,” Sites said. “I don’t know if I’m going to cry, if I’m going to triumphantly walk out of here, I don’t know what the students are going to feel…I hope I don’t bawl like a little baby, but it will definitely be a little heartbreaking on my last day.”
The memories that he creates at his time at JB allowed him to fully experience student teaching. Student teaching is less about being a teacher and more about the students and taking the time to get to know all of them. — Mr. Sites
Student teaching is less about being a teacher and more about the students and taking the time to get to know all of them.
— Mr. Sites