Teacher Spotlight: Kevin Ferris

Kevin Ferris is a new English teacher at Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Ferris.)

Kevin Ferris is a new English teacher at Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Ferris.)

Kevin Ferris is one of the newest teachers at Northwest, transferring to the English department in the middle of the second quarter. He teaches AP Literature and Honors English IV but started his teaching career in Louisiana, where he taught English and Language Arts for seventh through ninth graders.

“[I] then moved back to North Carolina in 2013 where I taught at Reidsville High school in their IB program… I took over the theater program at the Hawbridge School and then just recently left there to join the English department here at Northwest.”

However, Ferris’s teaching career was not always smooth sailing. Before teaching at Northwest, he faced adversity unlike anything we’ve ever had at Northwest.

I was teaching psychology in a tent… literally a psychology class without a classroom. I had seven different classes I had to teach every day with different subject areas,  all from a tent. So it was stressful.”

— Kevin Ferris

Even still, there was much to be learned from his experience. Ferris realized that the situation although not ideal, taught him a lot about breaking the limits of what it means to be an educator.

“[ I learned] the lesson plans didn’t have to be perfect; the classroom doesn’t have to be perfect; it doesn’t even have to be a classroom… Those experiences helped to break me out of the rigid framework that I thought about, like how classes were supposed to be conducted,” said Ferris.

Ferris aspires to be a teacher that inspires his students, especially because of his experiences in high school.

“Be who you needed when you were younger; I think is really the thing that keeps me in it. I had a very difficult childhood and went to schools that were in a lot of ways failing by North Carolina standards,” Ferris said.

“So to kind of  be on the other side of the experience and be able to help students the way that teachers helped me and to have that sort of impact academically as well, I think keeps me coming in every morning.”

Ferris feels that teachers learn just as much from their students as the students learn from them. Although being an effective educator is his first priority, he values his students as individuals as well, which he applies to his teaching philosophy.

“It has nothing to do with the scores you get on tests. The greatest value is definitely the lessons that you can help young people with that have nothing to do with the curriculum. Be that stuff about mental health, or self-care or just life lessons and being able to help with those, I think, are definitely more valuable.”

Ferris teaches English at Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Ferris.)

Along with this, Ferris is also passionate about mental health awareness.

“I am certified in youth mental health first aid and I am a suicide prevention educator. Those are things I am interested in and knowledgeable in and have passion for. So even if you aren’t my student I can be a resource for you.”

Outside of school, Ferris independently instructs theater.

“Even though I don’t teach theater anymore, I am still involved in theater. I just started rehearsals on the next show I am directing, which is “I and You” by Lauren Gunderson. I am also the technical director at the Snow Camp outdoor theater in Snow Camp, North Carolina.”

Ferris is ready to bring fresh energy to the English department and is very excited for his first year instructing at Northwest.