Teacher of the Week: Taylor Balgeman

Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School math teacher Taylor Balgeman poses in his classroom.

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Taylor Balgeman always enjoyed school as a kid, so when it came time to choose a career after graduating from Indiana State University, it was an easy decision for the Westville native.

In eight years as a teacher at Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School, he worked his way up to the head of the math department and has taught everything from pre-algebra to calculus. Even during a difficult year, he’s also shown he can be counted on.

“Mr. Balgeman is the consummate professional,” Principal Kevin Thomas said. “He can be counted on among his peers and has great connections with all students at GRHS. He actively collaborates within the professional learning community and with parents and families. Taylor is an exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled teacher. He is currently the teacher leader in our math department, along with advising our student senate. One of the things he most enjoys about teaching is being able to make a difference within our diverse population of students.”

Taylor Balgeman, Math, Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School

I find my work important because ... High school is the last step for a child before they enter the real world as an adult. I see myself as having two jobs as a high school teacher: to teach the content of my subject in an engaging, easy-to-understand way, and to prepare my students for what’s after high school (whether it be college or the workforce).

I became a teacher because ... Whether it be through community service with Scouting or through training new employees at Mike’s Grill (my high school job), I always enjoyed helping others. I saw teaching as an opportunity to help others on a daily basis, with their education. Growing up, I was also one of those nerds who enjoyed school and all that it had to offer. What I like most about high school is the diversity of sports, clubs, activities, etc., that is offered. This diversity allows a child to find and define themselves as the type of person they want to be.

My favorite/most unique lesson that I teach is ... In geometry, I always enjoy going over proportions and scale drawings. There is a lot that can be done with this lesson. Over the years, I have done many different projects with this lesson. I have had students create a scale drawing of a room in their home. I have had them create a digital scale drawing of the house of their dreams. I have had them create a scale model of a famous monument/building. One year, with a small class, I had them make a dessert from a recipe with small serving sizes. This required them to calculate the proper amount of each ingredient to use to make enough for the entire class. The class then tasted each group’s dessert to see whose tasted more like the original recipe.

My most fulfilling moment on the job was ... That “aha!” moment when a student realizes not only how to do a problem, but the “why” behind it.

Something else I’m passionate about is ... music. I love going to concerts and blaring music in my car with the windows down.

The Outdoors. I love working outside, grilling, bonfires, camping, etc.

My favorite teacher and subject to study in school was ... Anyone who becomes a teacher does so because of the many amazing teachers that they had growing up. I had too many amazing teachers to choose one. However, the act of one teacher has always stuck out to me. My second-grade teacher at Judith Giacoma had each of us write a letter to our future self. She said that we would receive this letter from her once we graduated high school. Sure enough, 10 years down the road after graduation, I received this letter. Being a teacher, I know how difficult this is to commit to. It showed me the commitment this teacher had to each of her students.

I engage students during this strange time by ... I try to show excitement in what I am teaching. I have always believed that students feed off their teachers’ energy. If I am bored with the subject, I know that they will be as well. Also, every class I tell a dad joke from a calendar that my lovely wife got me for Christmas.

If I weren’t a teacher, I would be ... maybe a criminal profiler. The human mind interests me, especially when it comes to decision making.

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