Mr. Early with students

When people think of teachers they think of them as role models and sometimes even super heroes. When students think of a teacher at Salem Middle School who fills that idea, they think of Derik Early.

Early, who teaches 7th grade geography, started teaching in the 2014-2015 school year. In  his class he has the students focus on Africa, Asia and Australia. When asked what he wanted to do with his life before becoming a teacher he said, ”I originally went to college to pursue a business degree and a career in sports marketing but after being given the opportunity to coach I decided to change majors and pursue a career in education.”  

Early was asked if he had thought about teaching before going to college for business and he said, “In high school, sports marketing and coaching were the two careers I had the most interest in. I can't say I thought that teaching was in my future but I think it has definitely always been in the cards.”

When asked what his favorite part of the school day is, he said, ”I really enjoy lunch, but I do not have a favorite part of my day.” He added, “Each class is different and I enjoy each in its own right.”

Early said, “I think on every teacher's worst day there are always a handful of students that remind us why we show up every day.”  He enjoys forming relationships with the staff and  the students throughout the years. Early said he has enjoyed teaching 7th grade the most out of the grades he has taught so far.

His favorite memories of teaching include engaging in class discussions with students, field trips to Washington DC, and projects like National History Day because “students really surprise you with the work they are capable of doing.”

He said many teachers have influenced him. ”I was lucky to have some really great teachers throughout my years as a student and a few that influenced me the most were Mrs. Kramer, Mrs. Holsapple, Mr. Gary Smith, Mrs. Hazelip, Mr. Derek Smith, Mr. Calhoun, and Coach Weedin.”

“I plan on teaching until either the school gets tired of me or I can no longer walk up the stairs to my classroom!”

See Mr. Early’s interview with the Salem Lions News Network here:

This is the second feature in a Staff Spotlight Series created by the SHS journalism class and SLNN.