Educators are an invaluable resource, particularly in more rural communities. Whether it be arithmetic, history, science, literature or assorted other subject matter, the local community counts on these teachers and instructors to bring its youth up with the knowledge and life skills they’ll need to prosper.
So that this esteemed position might be better recognized, the Messenger has approached the local schools to run a series highlighting the instructors they employee. These interviews aim both to explore and learn from the passion each of these teachers brings to their subjects.
Between his coaching and his business classes, Tyler Soderstrom has been with the Isle School District for just over a decade. As Activities Director, he helps facilitate the extracurricular events where many students give their dedicated effort, and his business courses help prepare students for life after school.
Q: How long have you been teaching your subject?
A: I’ve been at Isle my entire teaching career – I’ve taught business classes for 11 years in Isle, and on top of my teaching duties have coached baseball for all 11 of those years, coached football for nine of those years, and have served as Athletic/Activities Director for seven of those years.
Q: Was there a point in your life you realized you were passionate about this subject or inspired to pursue further learning on it?
A: I enjoyed the business classes I took in high school (shout out to Mrs. Ehnert at Perham High School), as well as in college. My first major in college was actually Business Management, and I added Business Education as a second major after getting into coaching during my college years and realizing that I could “coach” students full time as a teacher.
Q: What was your own experience with school growing up? Did you have an interest in the subject when you were younger?
A: I always enjoyed school – some subjects more than others, but I’ve always enjoyed learning new things. I also thoroughly enjoyed the social and extracurricular aspects of school, from elementary to high school to college.
Q: What benefits do you see in having an educated understanding of your subject in our present day society?
A: Basically every topic I teach will apply to students’ future lives – whether that’s purchasing a home, paying taxes, using computer applications or investing for retirement. So learning about these topics, and making mistakes in simulations that we do in class while in high school will hopefully prevent students from making the same mistakes in their adult life with real money and real consequences.
Q: Is there any obscure or commonly misunderstood concept related to your subject that you wish was better understood? What’s the one lesson or concept you wish you could teach to the public at large?
A: Oh yeah, there’s lots of misunderstanding around how our economic system functions. Students especially tend to think that the government has a much bigger role than it really does when it comes to the decisions that private firms make regarding production and pricing. As far as a lesson to teach the public at large – I’d say the power of compound interest. It’s so important for young adults to, first of all, avoid high interest debt that prevents them from putting money towards other goals. And number two – to invest their money early in their careers for long term goals like retirement. The more time that money has to grow and compound, the more money they’ll have to draw from later in life.