John Marina from South Mountain Middle School

Winner - March 2018: Teachers Are Heroes

69 WFMZ-TV and Exeter Orthodontics are proud to present Teachers are Heroes! Each month we'll give you the opportunity to nominate a teacher who has gone above and beyond his or her job description and instilled a lifelong love for learning in their students.
If your teacher is chosen from the monthly entries, they will receive $100 from Exeter Orthodontics and $100 from WFMZ-TV to use for classroom supplies. Nominate your teacher here

John Marina | Biography
Upon graduating from Phillipsburg High School, I attended Kutztown University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.  I continued my post-Bachelor’s work at Kutztown, then transferred to Wilkes University.  While completing requirements for my PA Teaching Certificate, I chose to begin my teaching career by  moving to the Allentown School District, where I began by working as a substitute teacher.  The job of “subbing” involved teaching in a variety of fields, including dance, physical education, math, English/language arts, reading, and of course, my specialty, History.  I especially appreciated the moments when I subbed for Social Studies teachers.  These became very important to me, since this was the area I hoped to teach permanently.  I was not deterred by the lack of available full-time teaching jobs at the time, but continued with substitute work for several years, including two years at South Mountain Middle School, where I was frequently called back to work with students who were already becoming special to me.  To this day I am most grateful to my fellow educators, and current team members, who supported me and spoke on my behalf when a Social Studies position opened up at South Mountain.  I have now taught at South Mountain for over seven years, and continue to find the work an exciting and rewarding experience.  I have now completed my masters degree in education at Wilkes University, with a concentration in 21st Century teaching and learning, and look forward to continue working with my South Mountain “family”.

Philosophy of Education
The field of Social Studies gives our youth an opportunity to better understand the world around them.  If we can nurture a sense of empathy within our students, they will develop an appreciation for the past, which will lead to a better understanding of the present and the future.  My lessons are designed to help students use critical thinking skills and analysis of the subject being taught.  Running  parallel to this concept, is the correlation between what students learn, and the impact it has in today’s world.  We’re able to discuss contemporary issues, which will allow students to become involved within their community.  That being said, I want my students to feel comfortable in class activities, feel confident in expressing themselves, and accept their own mistakes without feeling judged.  I encourage them with motivational challenges and a sprinkling of humor.  They provide the enthusiasm and natural curiosity that makes them both good learners and good future citizens.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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