Why Teachers Teach: Mr. Herings Betsy Ross flag


Arianna Morales/Canva

As an homage to Mr. Burt, Mr. Hering hangs the Betsy ross flag in his classroom.

   For twelve years of their education, students meet new teachers and with that, new guides on the journey to find themselves: to learn, to uncover their calling, and to let it grow. However, in order to guide others they must first be guided themselves. This leads to the question: Why do teachers teach? It’s certainly not for the money. I interviewed Mr. Hering, the one who inspired this series on why teachers become teachers and their start to change the lives of numerous caterpillars on their way to becoming butterflies beyond their lifetimes. 


When did you graduate high school? 

   I graduated from high school in 1999. 


Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?  

   It was roughly halfway through my Senior year of high school when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  


What did you major in in college? 

   I graduated from Rowan University with a BA in History along with a certification in teaching secondary education social studies.  I later went on to get my MA in Educational Instruction and Curriculum.  


When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a teacher? Was it one moment or a series of moments that led you here? 

   There were a number of teachers and coaches that inspired me to become a teacher.  However, it all started with two social studies teachers, Mr. Burt and Mr. Becker, having a conversation with me after school one day about teaching.  They told me that I had the right personality to be a good teacher and shared reasons with me why they thought I would enjoy teaching as a career.  Not too long after, in January of 1999, Mr. Burt died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 42.  It was a huge shock for everyone at Eastern and the loss reshaped many of my life decisions from that point on. That is when I knew I was going to become a History teacher. Mr. Burt’s Betsy Ross Flag still hangs in my classroom (Room 203) as a tribute to him.  

Many symbols of history decorate Mr. Hering’s classroom, including the evolution of the American flag over time. (Arianna Morales)

How long have you taught at Eastern? 

   I have been teaching at Eastern for 19 years and was fortunate enough to be hired at Eastern immediately after college.  


What have you taught and are teaching now at Eastern? 

   I have taught United States History I, Sociology, History Through Media, and AP United States Government and Politics.  I currently teach United States History I and AP United States Government and Politics. 


Why are you a teacher? And what’s your reason for becoming a teacher? Has it changed over time? If so, what’s your why now versus in the past?  

   My motivation to teach has always been rooted in the positive relationships that I had with teachers and coaches when I was in high school.  I like to think that I am carrying their legacies forward while also adding my own personal touch to the teaching profession. They taught me that good teachers love what they teach, teach it with passion, and try as hard as they can to build positive relationships with their students.   Even with all of the beneficial 21st Century technologies to help us make learning more of an interactive experience for students, I will always believe that the best experience for students comes from showing them that what you are teaching matters and treating them with respect and dignity.  Every good teacher that I have ever had or worked alongside of has believed those two things.  

   Now Mr. Hering’s vibrant Betsy Ross Flag sits quietly in his room, encouraging him to teach and students to learn of a history greater than themselves. It serves as a reminder to everyone to carry on the legacy of those who came before them and find their own red, white, and blue.