Photograph by Angelo Merendino
The Wily Veteran
Now in his 19th year of teaching at
Shaker Middle School, there’s not a lot
that Mike Sears hasn’t seen or heard,
either as a social studies teacher, Model
U.N. club advisor, or lead chaperone
for the annual eighth-grade trip to
Washington, D.C. “I’m kind of a big kid
myself, so working with this age group
helps me stay young,” he says.
Other duties: Geography Bee sponsor
Why middle school?
Middle schoolers have really big hearts,
and are incredibly caring. I have seen
them spend hours raising money for
causes like fighting muscular dystrophy
and the Cleveland Food Bank.
Your secret to
connecting with students?
I use humor and I talk to them about
their interests, activities, and sports.
I try not to take myself or my class
too seriously, but I also model my
expectations for appropriate behavior
and effort while they are in my classroom.
What are the biggest challenges they
face? And how can we support them?
I see them struggle with how friendships
change during middle school. I think
listening to their concerns is the best
way to support them. They need to know
that there are caring adults in their lives
who will help them successfully navigate
their teenage years.
Toughest part of your job?
Working with students who are
struggling because of things they can’t
control, and wondering if there is more
I should be doing to help them find
success in my classroom and in school.
WWW.SHAKER.LIFE | WINTER 2018 47