When we think of the first day of school, we think of students nervously walking through hallways, finding the perfect seat in the classroom, or even worst — eyeing a new teacher that nobody knows anything about. Will he/she be a good teacher? Will they be strict? How much homework with they assign? Well, it isn’t just the student that suffers anxiety when it comes to the first day of school. Rookie teachers, like Lakewood Academy’s Andrew Hicks, also enter the first day of school with a belly full of butterflies. The Beacon recently caught up with Mr. Hicks in his homeroom, and the Gill Memorial Academy graduate, who just happened to be a Beacon carrier during his time at GMA, talked about those pressures, and who he would cheer for in a volleyball match between his old school and his new one.
Welcome to Lakewood Academy, Mr. Hicks.
Is this your first-ever teaching job?
Yes it is.
What are you teaching here?
I’m teaching Grade 8, 9 and 11 mathematics; science 2200; Grade 7 and 8 health; and the power and energy technology class.
What was the first class you ever taught?
I don’t even remember (laughs). Everything is coming together pretty smoothly.
When you look back on your first teaching job 20 years from now, what’s the thing you’ll remember most about walking into the classroom, or the hallways of Lakewood Academy?
The first reaction I remember having was, I was here in the classroom and I walked out the door, and all of the students were out in the hallway. Everybody just stopped and looked. They were like, ‘Is that our new English teacher? I don’t want him. I’m too scared. I don’t like him (laughs).’ Everybody was frightened to death right off the bat.
Now that you’ve had a few weeks to get used to your new school, what’s it like?
They’re starting to warm-up a little bit now (laughs). We’ve had some good times. This place is wonderful. The staff is great, the community is so supportive over their school and school functions, and the school is such a big part of this community. It’s just wonderful.
You’re from Musgrave Harbour, and we understand you played a lot of volleyball for the Gill Memorial Academy Vikings. Did you play against the Lakewood Academy Astras in the past?
We only played against them once or twice. Now, this school didn’t have a really big volleyball program in the past, so we didn’t play them very much. The time or two that we did play them, we did come out on top.
Are there any teachers at Lakewood Academy that remember you from your high school days playing volleyball with the Vikings against the Astras?
Well, like I said, they didn’t have a big volleyball program in the past, so I didn’t cross paths with many of the coaches. The one I crossed paths with on the volleyball court is probably Mr. (Dean) Johnson, and I was refereeing some of his matches when he was coaching the girl’s team.
Let’s say the Lakewood Academy Astras play the Gill Memorial Academy Vikings in the championship match of the regional 2A volleyball tournament. Who are you going to cheer for?
I have to root for…the Astras...I have to go Astras. You have to throw your support to who you’re with. In saying that, my heart will always be with the Vikings.
Are you going to be involved with sports here at Lakewood Academy?
I’m currently coaching the senior boys’ volleyball team, and our first tournament was in Musgrave Harbour (this past weekend) — the Alex D. Memorial. I was looking forward to seeing some of the teachers, and some of the guys I went to school with who are teaching there now. I was looking forward to going back to see some familiar faces.
Lakewood Academy is a lot like Gill Memorial Academy when it comes to sports. The gym is always blocked and the fans really get behind their teams and athletes. Is that support important?
Absolutely! I love going to a place where the community comes out to support its athletes and its teams. There’s nothing better than being at a game where you can’t even hear yourself think. The boys and girls are on the floor, and they can’t even hear the coach from the bench because the gym is so loud, and the fans are going nuts. It’s the best feeling ever.
“I got out, was working in the real world, and the real world didn’t like me, so I said, ‘I want to get back involved with sports, and involved with academics.’” Andrew Hicks
Let’s take a step back from sports for a bit. Why did you want to become a teacher?
I decided to become a teacher about a year after I finished high school. I finished high school and said, ‘I’m done. I don’t want anything else to do with school.’ I got out, was working in the real world, and the real world didn’t like me, so I said, ‘I want to get back involved with sports, and involved with academics.’
For you personally, is it better getting your first teaching job close to home at Lakewood Academy instead of moving to a different part of the province?
I was offered a few jobs up on the mainland, actually. I was offered a job in Saskatchewan, and there was a potential job in Alberta. I got a call for this position, and I took it without question.
You started off by saying the students were a little nervous about seeing a new teacher for the first time. If you had to send some advice to students who get nervous with a new teacher, what would you tell them? How should they approach a new teacher?
Be nice. Introduce yourself and get to know someone before you start judging.
Thanks for your time, Mr. Hicks. Is there anything else you want to add about being at Lakewood Academy?
I was surprised at the turnout we had for volleyball tryouts. We haven’t had a whole lot of interest in the past, but there’s been a lot of interest this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to the volleyball season this year.