Featuring Joe Wengerd '10
Alternative Education Middle School English Teacher
(Profiled: February 2014)
I connected with this job
opportunity after interviewing multiple times within the Frederick County
Public Schools system. My wife, Michelle, grew up in the area and
had already secured a position as a first grade teacher at Stonewall
As a new teacher, I was happy to receive a job doing
what I love anywhere. This particular position attracted me because I work
with students who have not done well in the regular school and need an
alternative environment to succeed.
Many of my students are extremely smart but come from homes and
communities that do not encourage academic pursuits. Because of that, many
of my students have not worked to achieve their fullest potentials in the
past. When we are able to influence a student to make positive life
changes and put forth their best efforts, it is an amazing transformation
to witness. Also, any time students say that they never liked reading
before my class is a gratifying experience. Finally, we get to take
students on trips to do activities and have experiences that they may
never have otherwise. These times spent opening new horizons to students
As a first-year teacher, the greatest challenge is creating lessons and
units that teach students appropriately. I have always heard that the
first three years of teaching are chaotic, and those people are right.
Those years are still gratifying and exciting, but it is hard to find a
comfort zone. Now in my fourth year, I feel much more comfortable with my
teaching materials and methods.
Grove City teaches the importance of putting forth your best effort in
order to succeed, and that carries through into adult life.
My first piece of advice is to find balance in your professional and
personal life. Make time for things that you enjoy aside from school and
know that your fulfillment from those experiences will help the class
environment you create. Also, focus on creating classroom routine at the
beginning of the year. It pays huge dividends later on in the year.
Be willing to relocate for a job. Moving away from home is definitely a
challenge, but it has its rewards. Also, applying to large school
divisions (like the county-wide systems in Virginia) makes the job search
much easier. By applying in Frederick County, my one application made me
eligible for 3 high schools, 4 middle schools, and 1 alternative school.
More information on Joe's Graduate
to Alumni Profiles