Behind the Apple — Matt Moschel, River Oaks Middle School

  • Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A.M. Sheehan/Journal Scene Matt Moschel

Cincinnatian Matthew Moschel earned a BS in Middle Level Language Arts from Ohio’s Wright State University and a Master’s in Literacy from the University of Phoenix. So how did he end up at River Oaks Middle School?

“DD2 recruits in Ohio,” says Moschel. Ohio is somewhat of a mecca for students of education…far more than the state can support, he says, so most know they will be moving elsewhere once they earn their teaching degrees.

Moschel, who has “highly qualified” status, teaches sixth through eighth graders Read 180. It is his sixth year doing so.

He finds it difficult, sometimes, when his kids are worried about being seen in his class, when other students call it the “dumb” class. He is quick to point out that his students, because he helps them get back on track and up to grade level standard in their reading, are the ones that enable the school, and the district, to make the grade in the final analysis.

In addition to teaching he is a Beta Sponsor — an academic club that does different events throughout the community including fundraising for such groups as the SPCA, Read Across America, and has sub-groups that do such things as scrapbooking.

He is also in charge of the school talent show. “I am not an arts person,” he laughs, “I can’t sing, dance and don’t like being in front of large groups of people…and I am in charge of the talent show!”

He was a Presenter at the Learning By Design Conference and has been a mentor to first-year teachers.

He is on the SST — Student Support Team, and the grading policy committee. He was a Rookie Teacher of the Year and has been nominated for Teacher of the year in his third, fourth and fifth years of teaching.

“Being nominated and voted to compete is such an honor,” he says.

His worst experience…”I have them frequently with my students, they are very challenging. When a student says they don’t want to be in your class because it is known they have a hard time [reading]…it hurts.”

His best experience is “every year. My classes are top performers in the reading comprehension levels.”

He says, in a way, he has already reached his professional goal. “I love what I’m doing and would do it until I retire.”

“My first year was so hard, so rough, and Dr. Sobolewsky inspired me to continue. Theresa Blitch, who is in charge of the program, spoke with me and they both talked me into giving it another year. It went so well it encouraged me to get a master’s in literacy.”

He wants to stay in the classroom, he says, but he also really enjoys showing teachers how to be successful with the sorts of issues he encounters.

In fact, he does his job so well, that Scholastic (it is a Scholastic program) came and watched him teach and wants to come back and film him.

At home he has two dogs – pugs – named Bo and Maggie.

Children of his own are not a high priority — “I have 56 kids!” he laughs. He also has a niece and nephew — Gabby, 10 and Max, 6 — with whom he is very close.

In his spare time he says he loves to read and enjoys all sorts of movies. He likes bike riding, the beach, going “downtown” (Charleston) for dinner and, most of all, doing things with friends.

He is a big game-night enthusiast and loves making people laugh.

His life goal is to one day retire and to own his own home. He wants to travel as well because he loves experiencing different cultures, foods, people.

He and his older sister are very close. A year and a half ago, he gave her one of his kidneys. She had renal kidney failure.

“We’re a really close family,” he says.

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