Jason Majerle has found his love for teaching high school at FHC

Ellie McDowell

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Jason Majerle and his dog, Jojo.

When he started college, student teacher Jason Majerle was not planning to be a teacher.

Now, Majerle has almost finished education at Alma College for secondary education, but it didn’t start that way. After high school, he knew he wanted to be a teacher, but he chose to ignore this calling and instead pursue business. Specifically, he wanted to work at a hospital.

On the road to healthcare administration, Majerle was in the money game. He chose business because he thought he could make a lot of money in that field. But over his first couple years of college, something changed his mind and his focus for the future.

“I was doing youth group with middle school kids,” Majerle said, “and I chaperoned an East Coast trip three summers in a row. [After that], I was like, ‘I want to be a teacher; I want to be around kids.’ Then I transitioned to education, and I am finishing up school right now.”

Now that he has determined his focus and is almost through school, Majerle has had quite a few teaching opportunities in the classrooms of FHC. For the last few months, he has been student teaching World History, AP World History, and History vs. Hollywood with history teacher Kyle Carhart. However, for the past few weeks he has been in Laura Stiles’ room teaching US History.

There have been countless students who I’ve been able to talk to about different things in history, and talk about the different things they’re doing; sports, Bandtasia, seeing them at football games, seeing them at homecoming. There is genuine rooting for them.

— Jason Majerle

Teaching world history classes has given Majerle an abundance of ideas for things to do with his future classes. One of the FHC rites of passage is the Age of Empires game, and Majerle got the joy of participating in it and watching history teacher Brad Anderson run this exciting two-week event.

“Age of Empires was one of the most special things I’ve seen in a school,” Majerle said. “Being able to see Anderson and Carhart do that was one of the most incredible [things to see while] student teaching. Maybe I won’t be doing Age of Empires in my classroom, but [I’m glad I was] able to see that and take a lot of aspects of it.”

Out of all of the history classes he has gotten the chance to teach, world history is his favorite— specifically the major world religions. However, none of this can compare to the relationships he has built with his students through student teaching. 

“I like history,” Majerle said, “and I like teaching history. There [are] a lot of lessons you can learn within history and a lot of different tools that you can take to other classes, as well as after your education; I love that part. By far, my favorite [part] is the relationships with the students.”

Majerle has done numerous things to get to know his students and build a relationship with them. From chaperoning Homecoming to coaching middle school basketball to doing everything he can to make it to a choir performance, Majerle has been rooting for his students.

“I wanted to create a classroom where I know what [my students] are doing,” Majerle said. “[A classroom where] I know who you are, I know your name, I know the things that you’re involved with, and also teach these life lessons. There have been countless students who I’ve been able to talk to about different things in history and talk about the different things they’re doing: sports, Bandtasia, seeing them at football games, seeing them at Homecoming.”

Majerle’s love for teaching was inspired by coaches and teachers he had when he was in high school. He has found that these relationships greatly benefited him, not only through his high school career, but also after high school. 

These teachers and coaches knew who he was and what he was doing, and that inspired him to want to be as involved in his students’ lives.

“I had teachers and coaches that [made] a huge impact on my life,” Majerle said. “Being able to teach kids, and now people you have relationships with, [is] super significant because I think having that relationship can teach them moving forward.”

These relationships are the reason he loves teaching high school students.

He has found that it is a lot easier to build a genuine relationship with high schoolers than younger kids, and he is excited to be able to stick around at FHC to be a substitute teacher for a while. 

Majerle prides himself on being the type of teacher that is easy to talk to. He makes an effort to build relationships with students and talk to them about what they want to do after high school. He sees himself teaching around Grand Rapids for the foreseeable future and hopes to continue with high school students.

“After student teaching, I am definitely being pulled towards high school students,” Majerle said. “[I love] how genuine the relationships are. I love talking about college, or where you’re going after college, different trade schools, [and] different jobs. I enjoy having those genuine talks, and the athletic and extracurricular side of things are a lot more serious. You can start to see people’s passions. You can really see their personalities and have real, genuine conversations in high school.”