From Letter-Carrying to Teaching

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Photo courtesy of Aiden Matula

Aiden Matula, FCHS Journalist

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Ever since his early college days, FCHS English teacher Christopher Zema knew that teaching was his end goal.  Although he was not sure what subject he wanted to teach, or in what capacity, he was sure that teaching was for him.  

Zema grew up in Stephentown, a small rural town in upstate New York, and attended Berlin Central School for his high school education.  He then attended SUNY New Paltz for his undergraduate degree and attended graduate school at the University of Albany. One interesting fact that not many people know is that Zema was previously a USPS letter carrier for two years.  He walked a foot route in a small city in upstate New York. Although it was cold, windy, and busy at times, he enjoyed the exercise and fresh air.

At the beginning of his college education, Zema wanted to pursue teaching so he began to get some experience of a different degree, and started teaching his church’s youth group along with his college’s campus ministry.  “I loved it. I truly find teaching to be rewarding,” said Zema. He enjoys inspiring and educating the next generation of citizens in the work force to go out and change the world.  

Another reason for his passion for teaching is that it allows him to keep learning as well. In fact, he notes that he enjoys learning as much from his students as his students learn from him on a daily basis.  The creativity and inspiration in teaching keeps him on his toes to create a lesson that reaches all his students.  

Zema has now been teaching for three years and teaches 10th grade English, as well as an AP Seminar class.  His Seminar class involves research-based arguments and public presentations. While in college, he debated between  between History and English, but eventually chose English. “I chose English because of the flexibility of it,” Zema said.  He believes that all genres of literature explore the important facets of being a human being. He said he enjoys teaching literature for the endless creativity involved, as well as the consistent significance of literature in all culture and how important it is that it will never become dull or irrelevant.

Zema and his wife are currently expecting their first child.