Mark Schermerhorn’s time is precious.
The Jordan-Elbridge High School technology teacher is balancing more than just his teaching responsibilities, but as an administrative intern, too. Schermerhorn is working alongside Acting Principal Mary Thomas-Madonna and Associate Principal and Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Eric Varney with a majority of administrative tasks from Sept. 6 to June 22.
“Mark is an exceptional teacher at Jordan-Elbridge High School,” Thomas-Madonna said. “I am confident he will excel beyond the classroom as he takes on additional responsibilities as an administrative intern this school year.”
Schermerhorn recently finished up his course work this past summer at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Mass. As part of his last requirement, he has to accumulate 400 working hours as part of his six-credit internship at the high school.
“When I first approached Mary about the internship,” Schermerhorn said, “I wanted to be involved in more than just athletics. I’m also doing administrative duties such as discipline, supervision, bus and lunch duty. I will be involved in the prom, senior ball, scheduling activities and events in the building.”
On the athletic side, Schermerhorn will assist Varney in supervising athletic events, working with the coaches and scheduling.
For this technology teacher, who heavily relies on structure and rigid routine of the school day, is ready to start the day at 7 a.m., right before his first class of the day at approximately 8 a.m.
“Being a technology teacher,” Schermerhorn said, “there are a lot of things I need to prepare. I need to make sure the machines are up and running, I’ll try and do some grading if I have to. It’s a juggling act.”
A materials processing class and electricity course here, an OCC autoCAD course for college credit and productions systems class there, Schermerhorn is not done once his classes end, it’s straight to his internship at 1:08 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. He tries to get two hours and 15 minutes each day in order to achieve his allotted hours.
“I will check in with Eric and see if he has anything immediately for me to do,” Schermerhorn said, “If he doesn’t, I will continue to work on the modified and high school sports scheduling for practices.”
The college days
Heading back to college for the past two summers not only brought back memories for Schermerhorn, but a sense of ease, attributing his skills he has learned as a teacher to adapting to becoming a born-again college student.
Schermerhorn lived in a suite with four other gentlemen that were also a part of the Leadership Academy 12-credit program from July 7 through July 22.
“It was odd,” Schermerhorn said, “but it brought back a lot of memories from my undergrad days at SUNY Oswego.”
While there, Schermerhorn notes that he didn’t bring a television and that it was all about studying and mastering the intense program.
“I was up on the seventh floor of the dormitory,” said Schermerhorn, “no air conditioning, it’s hot and uncomfortable. It was all about doing the work.”
Classes were everyday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday with a break for dinner and one half day. Schermerhorn used that window of time to travel back home for the birth of their child on July 4 and then immediately drove back the next day.
While some may find going back to school strenuous after not being there for so long, Schermerhorn credits his routine as a teacher as something that helped him throughout his coursework.
“I’m always reading and researching at work,” he said. “I’m always trying to stay on top of the latest technology and methods. When I was at school, I was already in school mode.”
In his fourth year as the high school’s technology teacher, Schermerhorn notes the despite what the school district has gone through; there is nowhere he would rather be than working for the tight-knit community that is the Jordan-Elbridge School District.
“One of the great things about working in a small school is that you know everybody- students and faculty,” he said. “The school district definitely has a bright future with the new superintendent; you just move on and push forward. The teachers and kids are resilient. It’s going to take time, but it always works itself out.”