Manager of the Month: Military Journey Led Hurley to Education

May 18, 2017





Photo by Amber Romero

By Amber Romero

Sean Hurley said winning May’s Manager of the Month is the best thing to happen this school year. He says that building relationships with scholars is his favorite part of teaching. Below he discusses 

Did you expect to be manager of the month and how did you feel?

Nope. I was wondering who was bribing me for a grade change.

Why do you think scholars voted for you?

I treat scholars like I want to be treated. Respect is mutual in my class, as well as honesty. I am always honest with scholars because everyone deserves the truth.

At one point in your  life did you decide to become a teacher? How did it happen?

I taught in the Navy and it was then that I knew this was what I wanted to do.

How did your teaching career begin?

I held many hats before I went back to school for my Masters in Education. I was an offshoreman, working on an oil research vessel. I worked in civilian aviation, which took me to work again with the Navy at Top Gun. I fell into a job working at the shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi as a Computer Aided Design engineer. I was designing electrical ship systems for Navy destroyers and cruisers. When I came back to Albuquerque in 2012 and started working at Thunderbird Harley Davidson, the opportunity to go back to school and get my Masters Degree fell into my lap and boom, here I am!

What do you teach and why did you want to teach that subject?

I have taught high school chemistry, engineering, CAD, and next year psychology. I love teaching. I get to share my knowledge with others in the hopes they will struggle and grow.

What kind of student were you in high school?

I was terrible. I didn’t study. I skipped school a lot. I graduated in the bottom 25%. If it wasn’t for my wife, I would have dropped out at 20 and joined the Army. I did join the Army Reserves anyway, but ended up in college.

Who were the teachers or people who influenced you in your life?

Dr. Doug Root was my math teacher in high school and helped me graduate. He saw something in me that I didn’t see. Colonel Mike Donovan was my music teacher at New Mexico Military Institute while I was there for junior college. The two of them took me under their wings at times in my life when I needed the most direction and a solid male role model.

What is the hardest part about teaching middle school/high school?

I teach both, and sometimes I think I am out of my mind. Honestly, the hardest part is throttling back on what I teach. There is so much I want to tell scholars and so much to learn, I do not want the scholars to feel overwhelmed. As a second year teacher, I am still getting used to what level I teach at and how much information to share.

What do you like most/ best part about teaching?

Building relationships with scholars and their families. Tied for first is the relationships I make with my peers. Teachers are all crazy one way or another, and we band together like lemmings.

What do you dislike the most about teaching?

The benefits are the worst. I will retire when I am seventy three. I am forced to pay into a retirement fund I will never see. I seriously doubt I will be teaching when I am 73.

What makes ASK scholars different than other students?

The willingness to do good and build their own knowledge base. The ability to struggle and keep pressing on to succeed.

What makes ASK different than other schools?

We rock. We absolutely without a shadow of a doubt rock this whole education thing!

What are your hobbies?

Riding my Harley Davidson, building cars, woodworking, paintball, and pistol/rifle shooting. I also have more animals than anybody I know. We live in a zoo.

Tell us what you do when you are not teaching?

I am married to my best friend. We met and dated in high school 27 years ago and married two years ago. Together we have nine kids, two that are ASK scholars this year, and we will be adding at least one more to the sixth grade next year. When I am not teaching I am working on our house, or one of our cars, or tinkering in my shop, building cool  stuff.

What has been the most profound experience you have had teaching this year?

Being voted as Teacher of the Month. This shows me that I am building relationships with the ASK family and that, above all, is most important to me. I believe that if you have no connection to scholars, you cannot teach them anything. The first barrier to learning is building a relationship based on honesty and trust. If you do not trust your program manager, how can you take what they have to teach you as the truth or hold any value to it?

What piece of advice would you give to scholars based on your knowing experience?

There is no growth without conflict and struggle. Think for yourself and make your own decisions based on your own empirical evidence. Listen to both sides of ANY argument before you decide on anything.




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