In a job market where college graduates may struggle to find work, local teacher Zach Cohen admits he hit the jackpot.
Cohen graduated in May and scored his “dream job”—teaching for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS).
At last week’s Board of Education meeting, AACPS’ Executive of Human Resources Florie Bozzella said qualified teachers were turning down AACPS jobs for positions in neighboring counties. But for Cohen, Anne Arundel County puts him right where he wants to be.
Cohen is a first-year tech ed teacher at South River High, and moved from rural Pennsylvania with his fiancée to join the Seahawks’ faculty. The 23-year-old specializes in engineering, design and robotics.
“One of the biggest things is, I’m not teaching wood shop here,” Cohen said. “I’ve been involved in robotics for six years now so coming in and taking over for [the South River Robotics team] … I just really love engineering and design, that’s why I’m teaching.”
As the head mentor of South River’s award-winning robotics team, Cohen hopes to continually grow the emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics (STEM) throughout the school. Pennsylvania is “hacking apart” its education system, Cohen said, so when he learned in March that AACPS had a specific focus on STEM programs, he began submitting his resume to local schools.
Cohen said he’s confident South River will enrich his life professionally, but also added that he loves living in Annapolis, providing an opportunity for a more bustling social life than Lancaster, PA.
He said his lesson plans for the upcoming year are fairly simple and already outlined, but admitted that classroom management and facing students alone is a big fear.
“Classroom management … it’s what keeps me up at night. It’s extremely important to me that I know everything about [my students] so I can be a better teacher,” Cohen said. “I can be very laid back, but I know I can’t be that laid back in class. For discipline, it’s a combination.”
As the young educator prepared for the first-day of classes, he couldn’t stop praising the school and the region as a whole.
“[South River] is a great place—that’s the first thing everyone tells me. The kids are great, there’s wonderful parent involvement,” Cohen said.