Mr. Trent Kramer, BFHS History Teacher
Q: Why did you decide to go into education?
Mr. Kramer: "Education changed my life greatly. When I was in school I didn't care about school, so I went to Hillsdale College and interacted with classical education for the first time. I realized that school is much more about making for a better life for an individual than simply making you get a job. So, I wanted to instill the love of education into people who were like me that didn't like school, and to show them that it holds a lot of beauty."
Q: How did that lead you to Benjamin Franklin Charter School?
Mr. Kramer: "I chose to teach here because we are a classical school, and the pedagogy of the school fits closely with the tradition that showed me so much beauty in education. We don't just say that we're classical, we are - we go through all of the processes that classical education instills into a person, that beauty, that truth, and that goodness."
Q: What has your experience been like teaching here?
Mr. Kramer: "My experience here has been hard, but it's been great. It's a challenge, and just like with any challenge it comes with difficulties, but there is a great support system here. The Principal, Mark McAfee, has been great in developing me as an educator, as a teacher, and so it's been difficult, but the best things in life, and the most beautiful things in life, come with difficulty. The support system here allows me to be successful and to enjoy my job, and so that's been the biggest perk for me."
Q: Why do you think Benjamin Franklin is unique?
Mr. Kramer: "A big part of what makes Benjamin Franklin Unique is that we are classical, and that we don't just say it, we actually practice it and it's not just in our reading lists, it's not just in the things that we post on the walls, it's in everything that we do. In every aspect of the school, whether it be the people we bring in to work, whether it be the culture of the parents that we're trying to instill into them that understanding of what this "thing" is - it's part of everything we do, and I think that makes us really unique. There are classical schools who say they're classical, and maybe their reading list is classical, but their culture isn't. We are an innately classical culture."
Q: What is one of your favorite memories or moments while teaching here?
Mr. Kramer: "One of my favorite memories was actually pretty recent! I had a student come back after they had left the school - they had left to go to another school for other opportunities - and they told me that the things that I taught them in class, they're seeing the effects of that on their life. Not just in the schooling, and noticing the areas of their schooling where they feel like it's inadequate, but that their life has changed. And that's the reason why I got into education. I wanted to change the lives of the students that I interact with. So to have a student come back, seek me out, and thank me for making a positive impact on their life definitely has to be the most impactful memory for me. Those are the things that keep you coming back. Anytime you have those harder times, or you're struggling through what some people call a "thankless job", those "thank you's" definitely keep you going."
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Mr. Kramer: "I love that I actually get to teach. I'm actually able to hone my art as a teacher here - I'm actually able to teach, and I'm actually able to hone that craft, and that's what I really like about being here. There is structure, there is support for you, however you also have a lot of autonomy in your class to be a teacher. And that's one of my favorite parts of my job here, that I can teach, that I can be an educator, I can instill virtues and morals into kids, and I'm not confined by any structure that would prevent me from doing what I think is best for my kids, in my classroom, at that time."
More from Mr. Kramer:
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