By J1 reporter Holly McCutcheon
When social studies teacher Mrs. Jillian Roger left for maternity leave in mid October, former Marian history teacher Mrs. Susan Juza didn’t hesitate to step up to the job. The previous teacher taught World History, Government, and Geography back in 2015.
Her love for history is noticeable in every lecture. “She’s always really excited to talk to everyone about government and makes it fun to discuss and learn about,” junior Mischa Mountjoy said. Juza continues to excite and encourage students to learn more about their country’s government.
With a long term substitute teacher like Juza, she is given more freedom with the lesson plans than a day-to-day sub. While she follows Roger’s time line and topics, she is able to put her own spin on the way she teaches the class. This gives her the ability to use her own teaching methods while following Roger’s main ideas.
The current unit she’s teaching is all about the executive branch and how it runs. “Our voting system is very complex and so many people don’t understand it; even adults, “Juza said.” Basically, my goal is to help students understand how we get from the long list, down to the candidate running for President for that party.”
With the executive branch being the current topic government students are studying, talking about the previous election is almost unavoidable. It can be hard for teachers like Juza to make the unit interesting and understandable without using examples that could sway or insult a student’s opinion. “That can be tough. If you’re being biased, you’re not doing the students the justice of letting them think about the other side,” Juza said.
From the presidential elections, to reoccurring mass shootings, politics have seemed to be the only thing on the news recently. It is important for students to stay up to date and informed on the presidential election, but it can be hard for teachers to get their point across, without seeming biased or showing any sort of party affiliation. This is no different for Juza. She said, “Part of teaching is getting the students to think about the opposite side. If I taught with a bias, I would only be teaching one side.”
Students will also be participating in a mock election to learn more about the presidential election process. The students will be given a president to represent and research. They will then debate against other student’s presidents and vote for their favorite candidates.
Roger will be returning from maternity leave in January, but until then, government students will continue learning under Juza.
She said, “In some respects it’s kinda fun!”