The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

Econ teacher helps students plan for future

Schmidt has been a teacher at SHS for about 13 years, but is also an alum of the high school. He got his undergraduate degree at UW-Madison, majoring in economics, political science, and French. He went on to receive his master’s degree in arts and economics at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, then his master’s in arts and teaching at Cardinal Stritch University. 

Schmidt had never planned to be a teacher; in fact, he had worked in the private sector for a Danish company and almost became a diplomat. 

“I had passed the written foreign services in December 2004, and I actually had an epiphany over winter break that I didn’t want to become a diplomat, so I never went,” Schmidt said. 

He was first encouraged to become a teacher by a childhood neighbor.

“I remember one of my neighbors I grew up with in Shorewood worked for the district, made a comment about how I should be a teacher so that’s always sort of stuck with me,” Schmidt said. 

It was after that he returned to Shorewood and became a student teacher for Madame Jacquert, leading him on the path of becoming a teacher. 

Economics had always been a subject of interest to Schmidt, who said he has always appreciated social studies for the reason of understanding humanity as a whole. 

“If you think about human society, understanding economics helps explain a lot of what we see,” Schmidt said. “I like that it is very relevant to current events, to the past, and even helps us predict what may happen in the future.”

Schmidt spends most of his free time reading, learning, and keeping himself caught up with current events.

“I work a lot in the summer with my classes, going to professional development, traveling, which I think makes me a better teacher because it inspires me to have new ideas and new experiences,” Schmidt said. 

As a teacher, he values providing his students with a high-quality education that they can understand. Ultimately, his goal is to assist students in the next steps after high school. 

He reflects on his experience in high school, recalling that some students felt out of place and pressured to have a specific goal when it came to life after graduation. 

“It’s really important for me to make sure students understand college is one of several paths students can take after high school, and I just want them to follow a path that is going to make them as happy as possible and provide them with the income they need to support the goals they have,” Schmidt said. 

Overall, he hopes to create an inviting environment for his students. 

“We’re in this society together, so a sense of community is a core value of mine,” Schmidt said.

The most fulfilling part of his job, however, is reaching the students. Seeing students excel in classes shows him that people care and are passionate about their knowledge.

“I wanted to do something that was benefiting the common good,” Schmidt said. “All students are given a chance to really succeed and [that] also makes me very happy.”

In Financial Literacy, there is a final project of creating a financial plan, planning out steps on what goals students would like to achieve after college and how to budget to be financially stable throughout their lives. 

“Seeing students develop the skills they need to be happy in the future is rewarding,” Schmidt said. 

Like most educators, the hardest part of being a teacher for Schmidt is feeling like he is not connecting to a student. 

“I go through a variety of different techniques to try to reach the student, and it still doesn’t work. That’s very challenging for me because I do care a lot, and I feel like I’m failing the student,” Schmidt said. 

Furthermore, there has been a noticeable increase in absences amongst students since the pandemic.

“That makes it very difficult to teach,” Schmidt said. 

Another major problem in the classroom is undeniably cell phones, which has become a growing issue within these last couple years. 

“I feel like it’s preventing students from maximizing their educational experience,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt thinks that most people that are not in the field of education don’t always notice the work that teachers put into their classes and teaching. 

“It’s not just like a first through seventh period job at all because there’s preparation, there’s grading,” Schmidt said. “Teachers are in their profession because of not only the passion for the subject, but passion for the student.” 

After many years in Shorewood, both as a student and a teacher, Schmidt acknowledges the uniqueness of the Shorewood environment. 

“I feel like Shorewood does an excellent job at allowing students to explore different interests, skills, and areas that they are interested in, whether that’s sports, drama, or global issues,” Schmidt said. 

Schmidt also recognizes the effects that are still clearly present following the pandemic and hopes that those gaps can soon be closed. 

“I would love to see education to be properly funded so we are able to fit the needs of our students,” Schmidt said.