Saturday, February 15, 2014
Christopher Cole likes to go on adventures.
He has been to London, Paris, Mexico and is currently planning a trip to New Zealand. He once spent a year living in Japan with Buddhist monks and Shinto priests.
He has aspirations to one day be a professional skydiving instructor because he also enjoys skydiving.
“I do a lot of adventuring,” Cole said.
In the meantime, Cole is 25 years old and teaching eigth grade writing at Gregg Middle School.
Cole is originally from Detroit, Mich. He attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich., where he triple-majored in education, English and Japanese language and culture.
After graduating college Cole was supposed to be a teacher in Detroit but ended up getting a phone call from assistant principal Robert Neuner, who invited him to join Gregg Middle School in Summerville.
“How close is it to the beach?” Cole had asked him.
“About 15/20 miles,” Neuner told him, and Cole was sold.
“I love the beach,” he said.
Cole is now in his second year teaching at Gregg Middle School – it is also his second year teaching professionally. Prior to moving the only place in South Carolina Cole had ever been was Myrtle Beach but Cole greatly enjoys the Charleston area. He is currently working to get his master’s degree in English at the College of Charleston and in his spare time he likes going downtown and touring the city – and hitting up the beach.
“I’ve gotten really invested in Charleston since this is where I want to stay,” he said.
Cole lives in Summerville and stays active reading, writing and participating in shag classes at the Miler Country Club. He currently lives on his own but said if he were to get a pet he would not mind a cat.
At Gregg Middle School he stays pretty active. Cole co-directs the theatre club and has a mentoring group called Mustang Minutes. The mentoring group allows one-on-one sessions with students on a month-to-month basis to make sure they are on track with their classes.
Cole is also the team leader for his hallway at school – known as Team Blue. He is responsible for speaking on behalf on his team during leadership meetings.
Cole formerly coached track at Ashley Ridge High School last year but cut it out of his schedule when he started grad school.
Cole said his worst experience teaching was his first year at Gregg Middle School when he taught three different prep classes – seventh grade writing, eighth grade writing and eighth grade reading.
“I almost lost my mind,” he said. “I had a seventh grade class and two eighth grade classes with two different curriculums. It was just hard. One of my gifts as a teacher is that I have a lot of creativity, and because I was making three different plans I was just mentally exhausted with my creativity.”
At the end of that school year Cole was honored as Rookie Teacher of the Year, and said that was one of his favorite moments as a teacher.
“I almost bawled my eyes out,” he said. “I was completely blindsided. I had people who told me, ‘Mr. Cole, you deserved it.’ It was worth it.”
Cole said he is “having a blast” teaching eighth grade writing.
“Just going from three preps to one prep is the best experience I’ve ever had,” he said.
Cole’s professional goal is to obtain his master’s degree and, eventually, be a professor while still teaching in the public school system.
“I want to teach real college classes,” he said. “I want to have that real-in-depth conversation about novels.”
On top of being a skydiving instructor, Cole’s life goal is to be a novelist.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” he said. “I want to be known for my scholarly work and my fiction work.”