BINGHAMTON, NY – Growing up, he never pictured himself being a teacher, now he can’t imagine his life any other way.
NewsChannel 34’s Jackie Gillis show us how Nick Polhamus went from script writing, to being a 6th grade teacher.
Windsor native, Nick Polhamus grew up wanting to be an actor.
It wasn’t until he was enrolled at SUNY Broome for acting that he found his love for teaching. During his junior year of college, he got a little taste of what it would be like to be a teacher by running several summer camps.
“I enjoyed waking up for that every time, going and teaching kids things to like develop and learn. That’s kind of what pushed me more in the direction of education,” says Polhamus.
He eventually transferred to SUNY Cortland, then Binghamton University for his masters in Literacy.
Polhamus has been a full time teacher for 8 years now.
The first 2 were spent at Harpursville teaching 2nd grade, and the last 6 he’s been at Maine-Endwell Middle School teaching 6th grade social studies and math.
“You can go through and think you’re going to talk about percentages the whole time and then you’ll have a kid raise their hand and say ‘hey how do credit cards work?’ or I’ve had kids ask about their credit score even they’re not ready for that yet. We have those real conversations about life skills,” says Polhamus.
This is his second year teaching math, prior to this he was just a social studies teacher.
One of his students this year, Kiara Neal, says he is the best math teacher she has ever had.
“He makes it fun, he like to make jokes, and math sometimes can just be boring, just plain math, but he makes it fun,” says Neal.
Polhamus says that while he enjoyed teaching 2nd grade his first two years as a full time teacher, he believes he fits in better with 6th graders because they’re at that age where they’re not embarrassed to engage in fun things and interact with him.
“If I could plan the end of my career and say I was going to spend the rest of it in middle school here, I’d be okay with that,” says Polhamus.
For the past 6 years he’s ran a video game club during 10th period for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to play games like Minecraft and Smash Brothers for a half hour every Monday and Tuesday.
If you know of a local K through 12 educator deserving of recognition, you can nominate them here.