Teacher Spotlight: Shane Chambers

Teacher Spotlight: Shane Chambers

Hardin Valley Academy head basketball coach, Shane Chambers, is an embodiment of the southern gentleman. He carries great expectations of his students in and beyond the classroom and of his athletes on and off the court. Come see why it has been such a privilege to have Mr. Chambers at our school in the 37932 for his entire teaching career.

Adam: Where were you born? 

Shane: Dandridge, Tennessee. 

Adam: Do you still have family out that way? 

Shane: Yes, I still have my parents and two grandmothers. I go back home every couple of weeks. 


Adam: What was your high school mascot? 

Shane: The Patriots. 


Adam: What college did you go to? 

Shane: I went to the University of Tennessee for my bachelor’s and master’s and then for my Educational Specialist I went to LMU. 


Adam: What did you major in? 

Shane: At UT, I was a History major with a Political Science minor.  For my master’s I did Social Studies Teacher Education and then Administration Supervision was my EDS. 


Adam: Do you see yourself going into administration? 

Shane: That could be an option down the road. At the time, it was the way the step system worked with pay. I knew I’d be teaching for a while and I just wanted to make sure I got the most out of my salary so I jumped into the EDS.  When I’m through coaching and I want to explore different avenues, I may head into administration. So I’m not ruling it out, but right now I really enjoy being in the classroom and coaching. 


Adam: How many years have you taught? 

Shane: Including my internship here, this is my 11th year. 


Adam: What subjects are you teaching?

Shane: Currently, I teach a freshman World History class. I’m also a Freshman Advisory/Flight Time teacher for our freshmen academy and I teach a 7:00am Film Studies. 

Adam: How’d you get the film studies class? 

Shane: A teacher needed to switch and the administration came and asked if I’d be able to do it.  I ended up really enjoying it. I get to school early anyways so it’s been an easy transition.


Adam: What sports do you coach? 

Shane: This is my third year as the head basketball coach. I was an assistant coach for eight years and also the golf coach for eight years. 

Adam: So you gave up the golf?

Shane: Yeah. I coached both my first year of being a head basketball coach, but I just found it was a little too much for me. I wanted to fully concentrate on basketball. 

Adam: Tell me about your basketball career.

Shane: I played for Jefferson County and was on the varsity team my junior and senior year.  We had one of the better teams in Jefferson County history when I was there my senior year. I didn’t pursue anything as far as playing collegiately. I had a couple opportunities to help with the Lady Vols when I was at UT.  I didn’t do that because I wouldn’t have been able to watch my sister play (who is three years younger) because of the time restraints. I wanted to be able to watch her playing career at Jefferson County, so I decided to just focus on being a student. Then, I got involved coaching when I was an intern here my first year at Hardin Valley. 


Adam: Why did you get into teaching? 

Shane: My senior year in Jefferson County, I was involved in their senior play. The play directors were my English and my History teachers who I had for both junior and senior year combined for honors and AP. At the end of my senior year, I asked my English teacher, Mrs. Melanie Hodge, what she thought I should do as a career. She said she could see me being a history teacher and coaching basketball like Mr. Noonkesser. I just sort of never looked back. I think it was something I always contemplated. I always enjoyed being around basketball, the strategy that’s involved. I enjoy the relationships that are built from being in a small group setting. In high school, I’d actually thought I was wanting to go into the CIA. I went and visited Langley, the CIA headquarters. After spending a week in DC, I realized I’m too much of an East Tennessee guy. This fit well for what I wanted to do and here I am 11 years into it and enjoy it every day. 

Adam: What would you do if you couldn’t teach? 

Shane:  I guess I’d be involved in the government in some way. I always enjoy the political side. I had a family member who was a US Congressman in Indiana (Luke Messer) for a number of years and I job shadowed him a couple of years ago on the hill. He’s just an incredible person and good politician. 


Adam: Who was your favorite teacher when you were a student? 

Shane: It’s hard to pinpoint one. Like most students, you have a lot of teachers that impact you in certain ways.  Mrs. Hodge and Mr. Noonkesser obviously impacted me hugely. It was my basketball coach that nominated me for the internship to visit Langley.  It just so happened to be during the middle of basketball season. He thought so highly of the opportunity and my future, that he worked out it out for me to go and miss basketball with no worries.  So I think all those little factors play into it. They were all looking out for my best interest. 


Adam: Which educator have you learned the most from? 

Shane: Here at Hardin Valley, I was very fortunate my first year. My two mentors were Mr. Combs, who’s now an Assistant Principal here, and Mr. Williams who still teaches History. It’s great to be a successful teacher and have your different teaching styles from class to class to get the most out of students.  They taught me it doesn’t have to be just one way all the time. Whether it’s freshmen or seniors, you have to teach differently because they all connect differently. 


Adam: Have you earned any professional awards? 

Shane: I do have tenure. I’m proud of that. We do Teachers of the Month, I got that when I was in STEM Academy and I was really honored to win that. We’ve got a lot of great teachers that I look up to and admire, so it was nice to be recognized by them. 


Adam: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Shane: I think what’s really neat are the accomplishments that aren’t on paper.  It’s the students that have graduated from Hardin Valley, graduated college, they are in the workforce and they come back to visit.  They tell you how they enjoyed your class or how you’ve had an impact on them. I think that’s what teaching is about. It’s about making an impact on students in a positive light.  


Adam: What do you consider a successful student to be? 

Shane: I think a successful student is someone that gets the most out of their abilities and their talents. Whether they’re an A student or a C student. We aren’t perfect and we struggle at times, but how do we improve our weaknesses and overcome those difficulties?  How are they going to make the most out of their situation? I think that’s what makes a successful student.  


Adam: What is the difference between a good and a great teacher? 

Shane: I think a good teacher is someone that knows the content and the students do well in class. A great teacher has that, but is also someone that connects with their students and builds relationships with them. That what makes the classroom a learning environment for all. 


Adam: What improvement would you most like to see made to public education? 

Shane: Accountability. Accountability with teachers, students, and parental guardians. There has to be accountability on all three of those facets for a student to be a success, and not just in school but in life in general.  I think if one or two of those are lacking, it’s difficult for a student to being a productive citizen when they graduate or go on. 

Adam: Any idea on how to improve that? 

Shane: It’s interesting really.  Even with all the technology and things being more readily available, like the instant access and we have grades or contact, I think it’s something that we can improve on. Sometimes it’s neglected because it’s there too.  There’s got to be a two way street of communication. We need to be able to communicate about their grades, abilities, and behavior to make sure that we’re getting the most out of the student and preparing them for life after Hardin Valley.  This is why we’re here. The goal is to make sure they are prepared to be a productive citizen, to get the job that they can. I tell my freshmen all the time that their generation is more competitive than the generation before them, we’ve become more globalized. You’re not competing for jobs with someone from Knoxville, Tennessee. You’re competing around the country and around the world. What’s going to set you apart? What skills do you need to develop?  We need something to hold everyone accountable so that we’re reaching those goals. 


Adam: What is something that you could use in your classroom?

Shane: We have Chromebook carts here that we share between teachers, but that one on one sort of integrated technology would always be beneficial. With the way generations are going, the students are more technologically savvy and dependent on it. Having all the resources available to you would make a huge difference, but I think we do a very good job as a staff making sure we’re incorporating technology and sharing the resources we do have. 


Adam: What hobbies do you have? 

Shane: I enjoy movies. I’ve been excited about the whole blockbuster season coming up and Captain Marvel and End Game. I’m big on live music and live plays and performances. I went to New York and saw a couple of Broadway plays this past summer and I’m going to a concert and seeing The Foo Fighters. I love being in that environment and watching performances. 

Adam: What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Shane: Oh man I have so many.  I like Lord of the Rings Two Towers, Forrest Gump, and the old Batman with Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton. Teaching film studies, I’ve learned to appreciate some of the older films like Citizen Kane or Casa Blanca. 

Adam: Have you watched 12 Angry Men yet?

Shane: Yeah, I used to show that for US Government. That was a great one. 


Adam: What’s a good way for a student or a parent to spoil you? 

Shane: I think by just being respectful. To be respectful and appreciative of not just me, but all that teachers do, and the time and effort they put into the job during the school hours and after.  I’ll be here for basketball practice until six, seven o’clock with my team, but then there are teachers that are still in building doing grading and lesson planning. It’s not a normal 9 to 5 job. Teachers are here a lot later than people realize to make sure their students are improving because they want these kids to be the best they can be. 

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