Inside look into teachers lives… before they were teachers

Inside look into teachers lives... before they were teachers

Camryn Robbinson, Staff Reporter

Many people apply for jobs way before they choose a career. Usually they are jobs such as lifeguarding, working as a hostess at a restaurant or even being a summer nanny. But at De Soto High school, some teachers started out much differently.

Theater director and drama teacher Jason Hagg used to work as security for the loss prevention at JCPenney. It all started when he worked as a cashier and wanted to do something “more exciting.” Hagg definitely got what he asked for.

“I remember one day a group of teenagers came into the store and tried to steal t-shirts. I walked past them pretending I was on the phone with the police, hoping they would get the message to put back everything they were trying to steal,” Hagg said. “After the store closed, one of the teenagers came back and walked past me with the handle of a gun sticking out of his pants.”

Hagg explained the job to be random because “you never know what you are going to get.” He even experienced many occasions where people would get caught stealing items only worth small amounts of money.

“I had a teenage girl come into the store around Christmas and steal an item only worth three dollars,” Hagg said. “Eventually her parents were called, and when they came to the store, her dad was furious and said that he was going to take all her Christmas gifts away.”

On the opposite spectrum of jobs, English teacher Lori Hughes was Baby Jay, at the University of Kansas during her sophomore year of college.

She was recommended to audition by her dorm neighbor, who happened to be Big Jay.

“He kept bothering me about it, telling me I was the perfect height, and that I would be a great Baby Jay,” Hughes said.

The next day she went to a packed audition room of five people and eventually, got the part as Baby Jay.

“There were actually three Baby Jay’s picked because of how many games we had to attend, and we even had to share the mascot costume, Hughes said. “I always remember how the closet we stored the head in smelled like Febreeze and Clorox.”

Other teachers, such as baseball coach and math teacher Joel Thaemert, used to work for a beekeeper, describing it as “a lot of hard work, but really fun.”

Thaemert worked for his best friend’s dad, and helped keep order around the farm. He worked during summers in high school and enjoyed it so much, he wishes he had his own bee farm.

“I loved it so much. If I had land and a way to do it [farm bees], I would have a bee farm,” Thaemert said.

On many occasions, Thaemert explained that a lot of accidents happened when taking care of the bees.

“One of my buddies and I went out to check a hive … and as soon as he opened the top, bees immediately covered his veil,” Thaemert said. “It was like a cartoon, he was running and a swarm of bees were chasing after him.”

Band teacher Matthew Bradford worked at a Frito Lay chip factory for two days. His job was to smash expired bags of chips by jumping on them in a dumpster. Journalism teacher Michael Sullivan worked as a DJ during college and was a camp counselor. Spanish teacher Lindsay O’Neil who worked as a hairdresser before she became a foreign language teacher.

Many teachers at DHS have worked at jobs that not a lot of people tend to have, but none of the teachers regret going into the teaching field.

“When I look at what my old boss is doing now… working as a loss prevention manager for the Navy, I get a little jealous, but no, I never regretted becoming a teacher,” Hagg said.