Teacher Feature: Erik Skaggs

A special “getting to know you” interview with Erik Skaggs, the new Science teacher who started teaching at Durango High School this year. He talks about his teaching career, teaching in Ignacio, and his favorite things about Durango including the community, outdoor activities, and the accessibility of the mountains.

Reporter: How long have you been teaching?

Skaggs: This is my fourth year. So, I was teaching for three years at Ignacio Middle School before this. This is my first year at Durango High School.

R: What made you come to DHS?

S: Several things. One, I’ve been living in Durango for five years and I wanted to definitely be teaching in Durango at some point and I had an opportunity to teach here and I also wanted to try out high school because I had done student teaching in high school and I’ve always really enjoyed working with high schoolers, so that was my main motivation.

R: What is your favorite thing about Durango?

S: I think the community is really awesome, it’s not a huge town. I grew up in a really small town so it’s just a good sized community. You can still know everybody but not feel like it’s so small that you can’t get out and do things. I also really enjoy only driving two hours and be in Moab, so you can be in the desert or drive 20 minutes and be in the mountains. Just having all those outdoor pursuits that you can get out to really quickly is awesome.

R: Is Science your favorite subject to teach?

S: It better be my favorite subject to teach since I’m only teaching science but yeah, I love teaching Science. I’ve actually helped out in some P.E. classes before which is pretty fun and I’ve assistant coached cross country, and that’s super cool as well. Overall, I really, really enjoy teaching Science. Biology and Physics are my favorite to teach but almost all branches of science are pretty awesome.

R: Do you miss anything from the other school you taught at?

S: It’s just a different teaching environment, I would say. Teaching middle school compared to teaching high school, middle school is quite a bit different. So, I really like, not so much teaching at a different school, but the new interactions with kids. For example, talking with middle schoolers, you can’t be as sarcastic, which I like to be occasionally, is a little bit lost on middle schoolers but high schoolers tend to get it most of the time.

R: Have you noticed any differences in how people teach here vs. where you used to teach?

S: There’s not so much differences in teaching because every teacher has a different teaching style based on who you are individually and who you’re teaching. So, depending on class to class, you’re going to have to use different strategies or different modes of communication because, I think the people that you’re teaching and the way to relate to those students depend on who you are and I don’t think that’s a school by school thing rather than it is class by class.

R: What activities do you do outside of school?

S: I do a bit of running and hiking in the mountains and I like to play music, so I play a little bit of guitar, those are probably the main things. I run ultra marathons, which is running a very long way. So, an ultra marathon is anything over a marathon distance which is a long ways especially if you haven’t run before. Actually, it seems like a long ways to me every time I run one. It always seems like too far. I do a lot of stuff, not so much on roads but I do more running in the mountains because I like being outside and you’re not running with a whole bunch of people so it’s kind of peaceful most of the time. Unless you’re running uphill and you can’t breathe, that’s not as peaceful.