Mr. Conway’s New Teacher Interview
Name, experience, where are you from, schools & degrees, single or married, pets/kids?
“My name is Pierce Conway, I am from this area. I went to Middle Creek High School, and then I went to UNC Chapel Hill for my undergrad degree in history. Then I went to NC State, got my master’s in teaching, and then I moved to Washington D.C. where I taught for several years in a gigantic public school that had four thousand students. Then I moved back here, back home, to be closer to my family and to be somewhere where I can afford a house. I have been married to my beautiful wife for two years, and I have a puppy.”
Why did you become a teacher?
“I really enjoy working with high school students. I think it’s a really cool age group; you guys are all trying to figure out your way in life and who you are. I enjoy being there and helping encourage students.”
What other jobs did you have before teaching?
“I worked in restaurants; I worked as a maintenance person for the city of Raleigh, so I used to fix toilets—so this job is much better than fixing toilets. “
Why did you choose your subject area?
“[I like history,] not necessarily just memorizing dates and facts, but I like how it teaches you to think, and it teaches you to support your arguments. It’s definitely the most fun.”
What are your hobbies?
“I love being outside, I love hiking, I read and watch a lot of basketball. That’s it, I’m pretty boring other than that.”
What’s your favorite book?
“[My favorite book is] Les Mis[érables]. I read it in high school, and still till this day, it’s my favorite book. “
Favorite movie? “Ocean’s Eleven. It has Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bernie Mac; all of these super famous actors in like, a casino heist.”
Are you a night or morning person?
“Morning person. I barely make it until 9:00 pm, and I’m always falling asleep on the couch. My wife gives me a hard time because she’s a night person. “
What has been your favorite vacation?
“[My wife and I] went to Amsterdam and Belgium last Thanksgiving. I had never been to Europe, so that was the first and only time I’d been. I love that [in Amsterdam] you can walk everywhere, the canals are super beautiful, and the people are very friendly. The food is ok; I was a little disappointed. And to see so much history because those cities are so much older than U.S. cities.”
Do you have any stories from when you were in high school?
“Mr. Williams was my principal when I was in high school. It was his last year; he retired with my graduating class, and he has been principal several times since then.”
What kind of kid were you when you were in high school?
“I was the kid that teachers did not like. I was very smart, and I did my work, but otherwise I was really mischievous, always trying to frustrate the teacher or other people. So now, I understand what it is to be on the other side, and I hate high school me.”
What advice would you give students who want to take your class?
“Take my class, obviously. Come on in, be prepared to try different things, meet different people, and have a lot of fun.”
If you weren’t teaching, what would you be doing?
“Probably, I’d be doing something with computer programming.”
Who is or has been an inspiration to you?
“My high school history teacher; I really liked him. I thought he was a great teacher, and he was really invested in getting to know me. He balanced sports, work, family, and kids. I just thought it was really cool that he was able to do all the work and still be involved with the school. He has kinda been my mentor.”
What was your most memorable moment as a teacher?
“Seeing my first class of students graduate. It was really cool. They wrote me letters letting me know what their favorite part of high school was, what their plans were for the future. It’s really cool to see how much they have grown in only two years.”
Do you still have any contact with any of your old students?
“I do. They came to visit me in my classroom when I was in D.C., and I’m still in touch with them. I’ve written them recommendation letters and stuff like that.”
What do you think your students think of you?
“Hopefully, they see that I am interested in them, that I wanna get to know them, that I care about them, that I am not as concerned with doing everything exactly like the book, read this, answer this, I want them to learn in the way that best fits them. I try to give them different opportunities to do that. I hope they don’t think that I’m just the chill teacher that lets them do whatever they want. I’m trying to find a balance between being relax and still expecting them to have the work done.”
Why do you consider that history is an important subject?
“Because it is about more than just memorizing things. You can learn from what people have done in the past and make sure you don’t make those same mistakes. People have made a lot of the same mistakes over the course of history. Especially in the United States where it seems that stuff happens over and over again. Also, kids see that, and they can see how it is possible for them to change and improve and at the same time they learn how to be strong students; how to read, write, and think critically.”
Welcome to Apex High School Mr. Conway. We hope you enjoy teaching here and that you have a wonderful experience with us!