Dean Harned’s classroom reflects passion for teaching

Susan EspirituGibbs/Corryton, Our Town Youth

The classroom. It is an expression of the teacher and their professional journey. As you watch teachers progress through the years, their classrooms reflect that journey as well. A new teacher’s classroom might reflect ideals coming into the profession influenced by a parent or a past teacher. As their career progresses, the teacher’s classroom evolves into an environment that includes additional influences from their journey. Teachers put hours of dedication to get their classrooms ready and their efforts reflect their commitment to providing a conducive space for students to thrive academically and emotionally.

Dean Harned became a teacher because of his late mother, Mary Jane Harned, who taught seventh grade math at Robertsville Middle School for 43 years. Dean says, “She loved teaching so much that her passion for education was contagious.”

Dean and mother, Mary Jane Harned

She said the greatest compliment she ever received as an educator was when she was told by an evaluator during her last year teaching that she was still as passionate and enthusiastic about teaching as a brand new, first-year teacher. I am sure her classroom gave students the same feeling.

Dean is in his 22nd year of teaching Advanced Placement U.S. history and film studies at Gibbs High School. Dean says, “They’ll have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming some day because I love it so much. I think it’s important to do what you love for a living and I am extremely fortunate to be among those lucky enough to do just that. When you wake up every morning and truly don’t feel like you’re going to work, you know you’re where you need to be in life.”

Looking around Dean Harned’s classroom, you can see the evolution of a classroom teacher who loves his subject matter, his students, his profession and was influenced early on by his parent.

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