Bird’s Eye View

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Cassidy Carpenter, Staff Writer

Sometimes it seems as though every teacher has been teaching at Blue Valley for 50 years. Twenty-four-year-old student teacher Ryan Bird works with Karen Koch in her Earth Space classes in preparation for his own class next year.

Teaching is something that runs in Bird’s family.

“My grandfather was a professor at the University of Illinois, so he was a big role model for me,” Bird said. “Four of his five children, including my mom are teachers. Education and teachers have always played a big role in my life.”

Although his career path almost seems obvious to him now, when he was in college at Kansas State University, it wasn’t so clear. Bird started with a major in Milling Science, which is an agricultural major, before switching to education his junior year.

“After I did an internship in Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to work with young students,” Bird said. “I wanted to do it the rest of my life.”

Bird said being back in the high school environment is different than his daily life was in Manhattan.

“I’m still on my college schedule, so waking up at 6:30 every morning was a shock at first,” Bird said.

He said starting out teaching so young can be strange at times.

“I don’t think a lot of the students realize that I’m not much older,” Bird said. “I think that’s been a delicate boundary to walk on. Most people don’t realize how young I am and that I’m not that far removed from your generation.”

Bird will student teach at Blue Valley until the end of first semester. After that, he said he will probably work as a substitute teacher and hopefully have his own classroom starting next fall.

“I would love to stay in the Blue Valley school district if not THE Blue Valley High School,” Bird said. “I’m excited to take over the reigns and see what type of culture I can build on my own.”

Bird said although he was assigned his student teaching school, he’s grateful for where he’s at.

“I didn’t get to pick Blue Valley, but I consider myself extremely lucky,” Bird said. “The culture is great, [and] the people are great.”