Drew Shibinski is a 2022 graduate and winner of the Department of Liberal Arts award.

Man poses with a group of students

Where do you teach, what grade, and what do you enjoy about your job?

I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade social studies at Nativity of Our Lord, a Catholic School in Pleasant Ridge (Cincinnati). My favorite thing about my job is the kids that I get to work with everyone. No matter what I have going on in my life or what just happened on my way to work, I know that I will be greeted with fresh smiling faces when they walk into my room. They are a great group of kids and I feel like I am making an impact on their lives which is more than I could ever ask for. 

Was there anything about the job that surprised you?

After spending four years studying and preparing to be a teacher you would think that I had everything down pat, but that was not the case at all! I have learned so much in my first year of teaching and am so thankful for all these lessons. My biggest surprise has been how many questions I get asked a day. When I did my student-teaching I was at a high school and high schoolers are not that big of talkers. When I started at Nativity I quickly realized that middle schoolers are the opposite! I am always answering questions ranging from "What are we supposed to be doing again?" to "When did the political party affiliation shift into what it is today?" The questions they ask me always keep me on my toes, but I wouldn't have it any other way! 

You seem to have been a big factor in a recent volleyball game at your school. What sports did you play in high school and college?

As part of Catholic Schools week, our school holds an eighth-grade vs faculty volleyball game. This was so much fun and the kids loved it! I am not going to lie, there was a little smack talk going on during the week. Growing up I played pretty much all the major team sports including volleyball which I also played in high school and still play in some leagues now.  In high school, I also played baseball and football. I even played football for Mount St. Joseph! I think my students were pretty shocked that I was able to play well.

How have your undergraduate courses at the Mount prepared you to succeed in this job?

There is no doubt that I am the teacher I am today because of the wonderful faculty and staff at the Mount. Thinking back on the courses that I took while at the Mount, just about every single one I have been able to take something away from and implement it into my teaching style. For some classes such as my history courses with Dr. Pete Robinson or Dr. Jennifer Morris, this was wonderful knowledge of the history curriculum that I share with my students or even ways of teaching the material to them such as using primary sources.

Other classes such as my education led by Professor Luken or Professor Cindy Shibinski taught me how to create lessons and differentiate them so that all students learn the material in a meaningful way or manage my classroom so that all students feel safe, welcomed, and ready to learn.

Even courses that may not seem directly related to teaching or history showed me excellent strategies that teachers use in their classrooms. Seeing a philosophy teacher pose interesting and engaging questions and then lightly push back to get the student to expand on their point of view is a great example that comes to mind and something that I try to implement as well.

There is no doubt that the Mount offers a tremendous education!