BEHIND THE APPLE: Emily Schultz, Fort Dorchester High School
Emily Schultz, 32, of Summerville, comes marching into the office with her hair in braids, a short plaid skirt, knee socks, white blouse, a bow tie and big, black glasses.
“It’s Geek Day,” she explains. She makes a great geek.
Schultz grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in Education and History.
She began her teaching career in New Jersey as a long-term sub but found it very difficult to get a permanent full-time teaching position. The waiting list, she says, was lengthy.
After she married, she and her husband moved to South Carolina and she got a job immediately – at Fort Dorchester High School where she had taught for the past four years.
She has taught World Geography, Sociology, Global Studies, U.S. History, Economics and Psychology – a very broad spectrum all of which fall under the Social Studies umbrella.
She has also been to culinary school – right out of high school – and worked as a pastry chef in a hotel and done everything in the wedding industry from server to DJ. Oh, and she ran a cake decorating business.
Her mom, however, told her all that wouldn’t pay the bills.
At one point, she says, she had wanderlust and thought she might quite like to teach English as a Second Language…all over the world.
However, she hated her Spanish teacher and loved history and decided she really ought to teach something she loved. So here she is.
“I really went into teaching for job security,” she admits, “but the benefits came later.”
“I realized I was making a difference,” she explains with remnants of the surprise she felt when she discovered that. “And now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
She admits, though, that her first year teaching was overwhelming. “I was in a new state, with a new husband and teaching new subjects….”
It didn’t slow her down.
She is department head for the Patriot Academy [freshman academy] helping freshmen make the transition from middle to high school in as painless a fashion as possible.
She has 25 to 35 students each year that she mentors.
She also helps with the National Honor Society, substitute teaches in the evening school and was honored as Rookie Teacher of the Year in 2009/10 for both the school and the district.
For all four years at FDHS, she has been recognized as a “teacher who inspires” by her students.
“Each year, kids who earn academic letters can nominate a teacher who inspired them,” she explains.
She works with Education First – a company out of Boston that sponsors student travel – and through them organized a 10-day trip to Italy last year and is working on a trip to the Mediterranean coast this year.
She is married to Jason who owns a machine shop in Summerville and makes racecar parts. They have a cat named Jack.
“My husband is my best friend,” she smiles, “we love to do everything together.
They go to the beach, camping and travel together. They also spend a good portion of their time working for their religion.
“I love to read,” she say, laughing, “cheesy teenage stuff…like Hunger Games.”
Her fitness routine is swimming which has helped her lose 20 pounds.
“I like to watch football and I go to all the games to support the school,” she says.
She and Jason have just bought their first house and she is looking forward to planting a vegetable garden and try her hand with flowers as well.
Her life goal is to travel as many places as possible, she says, and “continue to maintain a healthy and happy marriage.”
Kids are not on the agenda for either of them. “If I had children I would want to be a stay-at-home mom and financially, I can’t.”
“And I don’t think I would be as good a teacher.”
Her difficult experience teaching was discovering what some of her students deal with outside of school. She recalls one student who, she learned, was in foster care and had been raped. “[Learning this] made me grow as a teacher…in minutes.”
She says she put a lot of energy into helping this student and then the student was gone and she has no idea what happened to her.
“You just have to move on to the next one,” she says. “I learned there is so much more to these kids’ lives than a history assignment.”
She has no major career goals because, she says, “I never want to leave the classroom. I want to continue to grow and learn and become a better teacher but I never want to be without kids…I am a teacher…I teach.”