DanteŽ Menard and Francis Garner Carlson are part of the next generation of educators: Young, enthusiastic and determined to provide real life experience to their students.
They avoid dull lectures or boring projects, opting for instruction that prepares each student for their future careers.
“I am always looking to change things up because if I am bored, there’s a good chance the students are too,” said Menard, who teaches digital design, graphics, yearbook, and computer technology at Lake City High School. “Every kid is different and you have to find unique ways to reach them.”
To accomplish this, Menard’s students make professional quality flyers, posters and calendars, using the latest graphic design software and printing technology. He also incorporates his other passion, football, into the classroom.
“It’s creating a culture and showing them that in the workplace, like football, you need to demonstrate good teamwork in order to succeed,” said Menard. “The kids are so versatile today that you have to really work to keep up with the technology and what’s going on in the world.”
Garner Carlson teaches woodshop at Bonners Ferry High School. She’s a product of the Engineering and Technical Education program at the U of I. Garner Carlson is teaching nearly 80 students how to make cabinets, along with other aspects of vocational education. Making a cabinet is the capstone of the year for Garner Carlson’s students.
“I’ve grown to love the kids and I’ve found that these kids would be pulling their hair out in traditional classroom courses,” she said. “Woodworking really gives them an opportunity to excel and make beautiful things.”
Their success makes Bob Quant, an instructor and advisor at the University of Idaho in Coeur d’Alene, smile.
“DanteŽ and Francis were able to tailor their course work to follow their passions,” said Quant. “Business Education Instruction and Engineering and Technical Education have a wide variety of areas you can go into. It really is about matching up your interests with education.”
Menard graduated from the University of Idaho’s Business Education Instruction program in Coeur d’Alene last year. Born and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Menard played college football, bouncing around from school to school. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business management from Lewis-Clark State College.
“I was coaching Junior Tackle football in Coeur d’Alene and I wanted to coach at the high school level, but that meant I had to become a teacher,” he said. “I had a lot of credits from seven different schools. The University of Idaho helped me put it all together.”
Garner Carlson’s path to teaching also took an unusual route. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Exploratory technology from the College of the Redwoods in 2011 and then went on to earn a fine woodworking certificate from Selkirk College in British Columbia.
“I took a job as a substitute and the principal told me I could become a full-time teacher with a little more education,” said Garner Carlson. “Most of the course work was online, which was really helpful for me considering I live in Bonners Ferry.”
Garner Carlson said she found the Engineering and Technical Education program to be invaluable preparing her to teach wood shop.
“Curriculum development, structure and classroom organization were extremely important for me and I use that knowledge every day,” said Garner. “The University of Idaho worked with my schedule and advisors were awesome helping me become a teacher.”
For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu/cda
--Written by Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content