From Dancing to Chemistry: Mr. Burkey

Apex High School flourishes with academics, athletics, clubs, and other extracurriculars. However, those aren’t the only things that you’ll find at Apex. Apex is a place where long lasting friendships, bonds, and memories are made. It’s a welcoming place to new students and teachers as well. Mr. Burkey is a new chemistry teacher at Apex High School who started working here at the start of the 2020 school year. But Mr. Burkey isn’t just a chemistry teacher; he has a passion for dancing, too! Read this article to learn more about Mr. Burkey and his experiences as a new teacher at Apex.

 

Q: Did you have a teaching job before your job at Apex? If so, where did you teach prior?

A: “I taught for a year and a half at a high school just outside of Charlotte named Ardrey Kell.”

Q: What do you like most about teaching at Apex High School?

A: “I like a lot of things about teaching at Apex High School. The whole AHS community has been supportive throughout my transition to both virtual teaching and a new school. The smoothness of that transition is something I really appreciate.

Q: If you could teach any other subject besides Chemistry, what subject would you choose?

A: “This is always an interesting question for me. If I had to choose an already existing course, I would probably choose to teach English. If I had become interested in literature just a couple years sooner, I might have ended up being an English teacher. If I could choose to teach any subject I wanted, I would have to go with (social) dance. It would be a hybrid of actually dancing and dance history.”

Q: What is your favorite chemistry unit?

A: “My favorite Chemistry unit is molecular bonding. In college my favorite subject was Organic Chemistry, and this unit is essentially a prelude for it.”

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

A: “My favorite activity to pass time is dancing. I am a part of a few social dance groups (Blues, Contra, Swing, Fusion, Zouk), and many of the events usually take me all over the country.”

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

A: “I think under normal circumstances I would choose to go to Europe. I don’t know where in Europe I would go yet because planning trips like that can be daunting, so I would have to travel with a friend who has been already and knows the lay of the land. Right now I would probably go to New Zealand though.”

Q: How has COVID-19 affected the way that you teach?

A: “I definitely miss all the labs I used to do, but other than that my course hasn’t changed too much actually. The only thing I can think of is that I try to allow myself to give more responsibility to students. I want my students to learn how to hold themselves accountable and become self-advocates. Of course, I am always ready and willing to help if it is needed, but knowing yourself and what you need to do to be successful (what you consider successful, not me) is one of the most important things anyone can learn, and now is a great time to start learning it.”

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: “This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively, but if sweetness can win, and it can, then I’ll still be here tomorrow to high-five you yesterday, my friend. Peace.” -The Royal Tart (Adventure Time season 2 episode 9)

 

Despite the transition from in-person to virtual learning, Mr. Burkey has had a welcoming entrance to teaching at Apex High School. The next time you talk to one of your teachers, consider asking them a few questions to get to know them! You never know what cool things you could learn. Just like you and me, teachers have interesting lives outside of school that you may never get to hear about unless you engage in conversation.

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