Teacher Feature: Mr. Kerr


Q: Where did you attend college and what did you study?

“I attended Canisius College which is in Buffalo, New York, and I got my Bachelor’s in History and then I rolled right over and got my Master’s degree in Adolescent Education.”

Q: Is that where you’re from?

“Yes, I’m from Buffalo.”

Q: What made you become interested in teaching?

“In 9th grade I had a terrible Social Studies teacher and then the next year, 10th grade, I had an amazing Social Studies teacher. So from from that on I knew that I might want to help because there’s obviously good and bad teachers and I want to be a good teacher. Therefore that inspired me. Both teachers inspired me.”

Q: Out of all the subjects you teach, which one do you enjoy the most?

“Um, probably Combatting Intolerance. I feel like that is something where I can make a huge difference in kids. As much as I love History and all that , Combatting Intolerance is really a way where I can make a difference with kids, so that they can grow up and make a difference too, because it’s kids who want to make a difference.”

Q: For the people who don’t know what Combatting Intolerance is, could you explain it?

“Combatting Intolerance is a class where students pick what we learn and discuss, but it’s also a History class, Social Activism class, a Politics class, it’s a Current Events class all merged into one. This year my class has really moved towards activism and doing things in the community and making people more aware of, there’s intolerance that’s out there, there’s hate out there, there’s racism out there. And we want to make it so people are aware of it and so that stops in future generations.”

Q: What do you think of West Potomac as a school?

“I actually love West Potomac, it’s so much different than my high school that I went to. The diversity here I think is it’s best feature. With kids from 70 countries, speaking 40 different languages, I mean that is unique and we in this area take it for granted that the diversity is- it just happens but it’s not like that in some other states. Some schools are based on communities that are homogeneous, that they’re all the same. You can learn so much from students here. I’ve learned so much from students here, and I never thought I would learn so much. That’s one of the reasons I like West Potomac.”

Q: You mentioned learning from students, what are some things you’ve learned?

“Different cultures and how things are seen in different cultures, how teachers are seen in different cultures and different work ethics, you know, and kids who do so much at home. As teachers we take for granted that kids are always thinking about school. We want them to always think about school, but we know that’s not the reality for a lot of kids. I’ve learned that kids can do amazing things. They can juggle, you know, being a lead in a musical but they’re also juggling three or four AP classes as well. That’s what’s truly amazing because I know when I was a student at their age, I wasn’t able to juggle all that kind of stuff. Kids amaze me with things that they can do.”

Q: Have any of the things you’ve learned from students have an impact on Combatting Intolerance?

“Absolutely, you know, I’ve seen and heard so many stories of kids facing intolerance and kids who I wouldn’t have thought who face intolerance have. So many times I’ve heard stories of, you know, just after the election I had a student come to me after school and say that she stopped working at her job because she’s worried about kids making fun of her for being Muslim and kids attacking her. I learn something new everyday from students and just makes want to do more in that classroom and outside the class.”

Q: When you’re not teaching, what do you like to do in your free time?

“I love to read, which is another major contributor to Combatting Intolerance. I constantly want to find new things to do, new things to add. I also coach baseball, you know, I like to stay up on, I like to read articles that deal with coaching and baseball and things like that. Reading, watching tv, you know relaxing. I like to relax.”