Dream Job: Kevin McKernan, High School Teacher

Meet Kevin

kevin face

High School Teacher

Are you unafraid to make an impact on people’s lives, where others may be afraid to do so? Do you have a desire for strong leadership, for people and situations to be lead well? You may have a talent for Command. A person with a talent for Command believes that one must step into the fear to remove conflict and help bring in a solution. If this sounds like you, teaching could be a career you’d enjoy.

Kevin is humble, deliberate, funny, and uber caring. His eye for watching people grow and supporting them is present in his paying gig as a teacher and outside as a friend and human being. Check out his advice in the 3rd to last question for practical sound advice that’s hard to come by elsewhere.

Presenting, Dream Job with Kevin McKernan:

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

I’m a high school teacher. I teach improv and speech. I’ve taught high school for 10 years; for the first eight years, I taught English. I’ve taught exclusively speech and improv for the past couple.

What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

In terms of what led me to teaching, I think I found high school kids to be more generally honest, funny, and open-minded than your run-of-the-mill adults. I’m not sure I still believe that, but I know I didn’t want to be around a bunch of stiffs that were spending their little time on earth caring about stuff that didn’t matter to me. I also had great teachers, and so that job title meant something to me; they were always a special brand of hero to me. The good ones were always thoughtful, idealistic, and kind. And so to dedicate my life to teaching was just a selfish way of trying to become more of those things.

I know I didn’t want to be around a bunch of stiffs that were spending their little time on earth caring about stuff that didn’t matter to me. I also had great teachers, and so that job title meant something to me; they were always a special brand of hero to me.

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5, I didn’t think about having a job. At one point when I was young, I thought about being a movie director. That seemed fun. I loved movies when I was a kid. When I was 25, I was already teaching.

kev babies
Photo credit: http://www.rexkang.com/947/youve-got-to-be-kind/

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

I love it when a kid takes a creative risk. I also love seeing them being kind to each other when they don’t know I’m watching.

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different? 

To be quite honest, I don’t think I would change anything.

kevin with level 5
Photo credit: Adam Shaw

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time? 

I like hanging out with my fiance, especially if we are watching Netflix or going to get something to eat. I have a dog named Henry that I like to take naps with. I’ve also recently been playing a lot of 8-bit Nintendo games. Right now, I’m working on the original Castlevania. I play a lot of Words with Friends on my phone, but I’m not very good at it; for some reason that doesn’t bother me or keep me from playing.

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?

I think of any of the really great teachers I’ve had and try to remember what it was about their style that was inspiring.

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

Teaching’s fun. You should try it, but only if you actually know what you’re talking about. It’s not hard to sleep at night when you’re a teacher. Try to be really good at it even if you’re not yet. Don’t worry about money, especially if you don’t have any kids.

kevin teaching
Photo credit: Christina Moran

If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).

Perhaps someone who makes their living solely from creating some kind of art.

Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?

I also get to teach classes at The Improv Shop, which is really fun and inspiring. You can check that out at theimprovshop.com.

Thanks Kevin! If you’re in St. Louis – definitely check out The Improv Shop. It’ll change your life.

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