High School Teacher: An Inside Look


Paul Murphy

Mr. Blackburn discusses material with Kate Paflas (11) in his classroom.

BHSN social studies and history teacher, Chris Blackburn, discusses his struggles as an educator and how he plans to implement change within North’s teaching environment after two years of COVID restrictions. Blackburn has been teaching for nine years, four of which he spent at Center Grove High School, with a career in a factory environment prior to that. He was surprised by the workload of being a teacher. “I know all the things I need to do, and it’s impossible. So, unfortunately, I have to find things to ‘cut corners’ on.”
He went on to point out that the amount of pressure being put on him and other educators by administrators has only increased in the past few years, and can be hard to cope with alongside his duties outside of school. He added, “because at the end of the day, I’m a dad, and I’m a husband to a wife, and those duties are more important than my duties as a teacher in my perspective.”
Despite the struggles Blackburn has faced as a teacher, he still has high hopes for himself as a mentor, and for what education looks like coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I want to approach social studies with more of a cross-disciplinary approach.” He mentioned that implementing the English and math wing into his classes could greatly improve how his students learned, as writing and data analysis are often key parts of his curriculums. Blackburn believes that being a successful educator isn’t simply based on finding the best way to transfer information from one mind to the next, but also being “vulnerable”. He further described that vulnerability was key in forming “special connections”, whether it be with his students, his family, or other faculty members. Blackburn likes to embrace a relatively hands off approach to teaching. “I’m giving them space, not only to succeed, but to fall and pick themselves back up.” He finds that this philosophy coupled with “encouragement and kindness” really “allows students to rise to the occasion.”
Blackburn’s students also find his teaching methods effective and engaging, Sophomore Maddie Bovingdon-Friedman, said she liked the “way he structures class and the way he asks questions to get discussions going.”
While Blackburn continues to face his fair share of challenges as a teacher, he constantly works to make his classes as effective and engaging as possible, while working to better himself as a person, and an educator.