The idea to become a teacher was sparked when Shaun Billman was explaining concepts to his nieces and nephew. Upon encouragement from them, he decided he’d make a career change and dive into teaching math.
In his seventh year as a sixth-grade math teacher at Mary Miller Junior High in Georgetown, he still loves the job, even through challenging times, and his ability to explain complex concepts remains.
“Mr. Billman is one of the kindest, compassionate and knowledgeable teachers I have ever had,” student Adrian Porter said. “I wish he could be my teacher from sixth grade until I’m a senior in high school.”
I find my work important because … everyone needs to learn math. We use it in everyday life, and I think lots of people take for granted the math they do use. I work really hard to try to get my students to not rely on technology to solve math problems. I get them to use their own personal computer—their brain. It is the best computer in the world when you can use it to solve problems.
I became a teacher because … of my nieces and nephew. Teaching is actually my second career. They liked how I could explain problems differently than their teachers and suggested that I become a teacher because of that.
My favorite lesson that I teach is… To be honest, I like teaching students to solve one-step algebra equations and finding the area of quadrilaterals and triangles. Obviously, these are done together, but they are my favorite lessons to teach.
My most fulfilling moment on the job is when … you can get that student who has been struggling with a concept to finally have an “ah ha” moment when they finally understand that concept.
Something else I’m passionate about is … That’s a good question, because I feel like the last couple years, teaching has taken such a front-seat spot that my other passions have fallen away, but I am a huge movie buff . I love watching movies with friends and family or even by myself.
My favorite teacher and subject to study in school was … Mr. Happ at Paris High School. He was my math teacher for Algebra 1 and 2, I believe.
I engage students during this strange time by… being honest with them and kidding around in class. I like to have fun by joking around when I can. It isn’t always easy, but I try. Lots of times I get told, “That was a bad dad joke, Mr. B.”
If I weren’t a teacher, I would be … working as an engineer or industrial technologist in a factory somewhere. That is what my background is in from my first career.
— Anthony Zilis