A New Home: First-year teacher returns after student teaching

First-year Spanish teacher Ryan Geris shares his experiences with becoming a new educator


Megan Mayer

First-year teacher Ryan Geris teaches Spanish I and theology for sophomores.

Megan Mayer, contributer

First-year teacher Ryan Geris took a deep breath, as he walked into what he would soon call his new home, at least for the next year. Walking past the big red letters spelling out Bishop Miege High School soon became a repetitive action and part of his morning routine.  

‘“The main reason that I came to teach at Bishop Miege was because one of my best friends, Mr. Hess, taught here,” Geris said, “In addition, Mr. Keith had recently joined the administration team. He was my senior year theology teacher, and one of my biggest inspirations for becoming a teacher.” 

 While his first day may have come with some jitters, he also knew that inside the school, he would have the comfort and familiarity of a good friend and mentor. 

For kindergarten through 8th grade Geris went to St. Joseph grade school. He graduated from St. James for high school and then went to Cardinal Glennon Seminary College in St. Louis for two years to discern the priesthood. 

After he discerned out of seminary, Geris went to Benedictine College for three years and graduated with a degree in Theology, Spanish, and Secondary Education. Geris explained how moving from Benedictine College to Miege was a big change for him.

“While you are in college, you have a lot of freedom with how you spend your time outside of classes,” Geris said,  “Once you start your first full time job, your daily and weekly schedule all begins to revolve around work. 

Once he entered the school that first day, Geris was greeted and shown to his classroom by a familiar, congenial blonde-haired man with a welcoming demeanor, Dean of Students Alex Keith. As they are walking down the hall, they get reacquainted and catch up before arriving at a sandy, wood colored door on the other side of which he would meet the students, about whom he would soon care so much. Knowing Keith and having him be the first face he saw when he arrived was a blessing according to Geris. 

Teaching right out of college brought many new insights to teaching according to Geris.

“One thing I did not expect was how much teachers need creativity when planning their lessons and classes,” Geris said, “Everyone learns differently, so teachers must be creative with how they present material and assess learning.” 

Kind Hearted-smiles welcomed him into the classroom. One in particular also shook his trembling hand before he took his seat in the back. Spanish teacher Jennifer Dessert welcomed her class and got the students settled, before asking Geris to stand. He stood and introduced himself, while the students stared in awe of a new, young face.

 Geris said he was going to be their student teacher for the entire school year. 

“I was extremely lucky to do my student teaching with Mrs. Dessert, she helped me get to know the classes and gave me plenty of advice on how to teach Spanish,” he said. “It probably took me about a week or two before I felt comfortable teaching on my own.” 

Before college, Geris had only thought about teaching high school theology. Around his junior year of college, he became open to teaching Spanish and theology. 

“I took a lot of great college Spanish classes and began to see it as a subject which could help expand your worldview beyond the one that you grew up in,” said Geris. “After I began student teaching at Miege last spring, I loved getting to teach here and was excited for the opportunity to work here full time.”

From student teacher to full-time teacher, adulting is real and preparation is key. 

To prepare for the upcoming school year Geris got advice from all the World Language and theology teachers throughout the school. Geris said he is grateful for the opportunity to work with all the teachers who helped him out while getting ready to be teaching on his own and the students who he has gotten so connected with.