Last week hundreds of Saline Area Schools students returned to class. For several new employees of the district, the start of school also marked a new chapter in their professional career.
Today we continue our "new teacher" series with a Q&A with Dwayne Stange, another Saline High School graduate who has returned to the district to educate today's children.
Meet German Teacher Dwayne Stange
What you teach: German
Where you teach: Saline Middle School & Saline High School
From what university did you graduate? Eastern Michigan University
Describe your previous teaching or career experience: Two years Midland Public and six years Allen Park Cabrini Schools.
Why did you decide on teaching as a profession? I wanted to give something back after all the encouragement and opportunities afforded to me by caring professional educators at Saline Area Schools, Washtenaw Community College, and later Eastern Michigan University. Becoming an educator myself allows me to encourage others to pursue the things that get them excited.
Why did you choose your specific area/subject? Around 2001, I played in a rock band with a German bass player and we became close friends. After visiting him in his homeland, I was struck by the beauty and charm of Germany and the intricacy and syncopation of the language. That personal connection inspired me to learn German. Now I get to share my love for the German language and culture with hundreds of students.
Describe a satisfying moment on the job: After analyzing and interpreting the lyrics to a German pop song, a student brought in his guitar and the whole class had an impromptu sing-a-long. Several years later I saw his band playing in Detroit and he still remembered that day as fondly as I did.
Who was your favorite or most influential teacher? My favorite teacher was Margaret Hurbis, my band director, who inspired my deep love of music. Playing and appreciating music is how I met almost all of my best friends, and also led me to meet the woman who became my spouse. Bob Marcero probably influenced me most because he taught Research Seminar and Journalism, both of which honed my reading and writing skills and gave me the confidence I needed to excel in university.
Tell us something about you that might surprise your students? I was so skinny in high school that I had to mail-order my jeans. They were about 14 inches narrower in the waist than the ones I wear now, and many stores didn't stock them.
How do you like to spend your time away from class? As a consequence to my workaholic nature, my superpower is the ability to fall asleep almost anywhere: planes, buses, cars, couches, desks, restaurants, sidewalks, trees, rock concerts... so if I'm not working on something for my students or on some continuing education/grad school, I'm probably trying to shave a few hours from my sleep deficit.
What’s your impression of Saline Area Schools since accepting the position? I'm excited to be surrounded by resourceful students, involved community members and coworkers of the highest caliber. This district is on fire for education, and the enthusiasm and support I've felt since joining have been an affirmation that coming home to Saline was the best decision I could make.