Patrick Heaney, an SHS pre-calculus and Algebra teacher, is not one to back down from a challenge. Whether it be teaching in the inner-city, coaching girl’s soccer, or teaching AP statistics, Heaney accepts each challenge he encounters and strives to grow from each endeavor.
Heaney is in his second year as a math teacher in the Springfield School District. The first five years of his teaching career were spent in Kensington, which he fondly calls his 'dog years'. Teaching in the city was an eye-opening experience that helped to prepare Heaney for all types of learners. While the hours were occasionally long and challenging, Heaney took advantage of every opportunity that arose and taught as many different classes and coached as many different sports and activities as he could.
Heaney is an advocate for students to be involved in sports and activities while in high school. While teaching in Kensington, Heaney coached boy’s soccer as well as the chess club. Upon accepting the position in the Springfield School District, he also took on the role of one of two new tennis coaches. Having never coached tennis before, Heaney took the time to educate himself on best practices for coaching tennis. Players and coaches learned a lot that season and they are already looking forward to practicing in the spring.
In addition to coaching tennis, Heaney is also the girl's JV soccer coach. Heaney’s players were fortunate to have a coach that helped them grow not only within the sport but also within themselves. Heaney created an environment for the athletes to work their hardest and always be respectful and humble, on and off the field.
There have been many situations in Heaney’s teaching and coaching career that were normally out of his comfort zone. Heaney believes that in every uncomfortable situation, you can back off or you can embrace it. Heaney’s mindset is to attack every situation that comes his way head-on. Heaney believes in taking advantage of any opportunity that comes along and using it for personal growth.
Heaney understands that hard work is needed to excel in school. He feels fortunate that he had supportive teachers that made sure he stayed on the right academic path. Due to that, Heaney can identify students that need extra help and encourages them to come for additional instruction. His students know he is available before or after school to go over questions or to help prepare for an upcoming test.
A large part of Heaney’s teaching style is reflection. He embraces the feedback from his students and performs weekly check-ins to see how they felt the lessons were that week. If the students are not learning the way he is teaching, he changes the way it is being taught. He believes the growth mindset is beneficial for both students and staff and continues to provide himself with opportunities where he can continue to grow and learn.
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