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Winter 2012

A to B: Kevin Boehm is Back

Illustration of Kevin Boehm as a childIllustration by Daniel Vasconcellos

When I was younger, my dream was to be a professional baseball player, either for my hometown Red Sox, or the team that my parents had grown up loving, the New York Mets. Unfortunately, at the age of 14, I was cut from my high school baseball team and realized I might have to consider an alternate career plan. But what?

My mother was, and still is, an elementary school teacher. Every day, she would come home from work with stories about fun activities, curious questions, and adorable observations the kids had made. One of my favorites was a student mispronouncing our last name, referring to her as "Mrs. Bones."

I began to consider becoming an elementary teacher so that I could one day come home with stories of my own. As I applied to colleges, I looked for those that had reputable teaching programs. I began at Hofstra University in the fall of 2001 as a dual major in mathematics and elementary education. After a semester of early morning classes where we discussed things such as imaginary numbers, I decided that math was not actually the route for me. I made a similar decision about elementary education after my first elementary ed class; we were asked to pretend that we were inside a cave where the lights flickered on for just a few moments, and then to use the crayons, markers, and colored pencils that were strewn about the tables to draw what we had seen in those few moments.

This was not what I was looking for.

I started thinking about the time I worked at a local summer camp and how much I enjoyed being with upper middle school students. They were at the perfect age where they understood what it meant to follow rules, but also had a bit of fun while doing so. I signed on to become a secondary education major. My senior year of college, I was placed into a seventh-grade classroom to do my student teaching. The kids were great, but I had a major problem: I found some of their "bad behaviors" to be funny! I easily pictured myself sitting at their desks 10 years earlier doing the exact same things. Now I was supposed to be the person saying, "Don't shout out answers in the middle of class," or "don't try to make your friend laugh when he is reading something aloud," or "no, you may not go to the bathroom — again." I struggled with the need to discipline and was unsure that this was the path I wanted to go down.

I graduated as a 22-year-old with a degree and no idea where to go.

I decided to return to the metalworking factory not far from where I grew up, where I had been employed during summers in college. Resizing bolts, bending metal safety shields, and drilling holes into pieces of metal that would be put together to create hoists was how I spent my weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And then something happened. While working there, many of my coworkers told me that they had ended up in the factory because they had dropped out of school. This really began to open my eyes to the power of education. I decided to go back to school and see where I could make a difference. I entered the master's program at the Ed School. During the spring semester, I participated in an internship in the Office of Student Affairs. Through this work I was able to discover my true passion: working with college and graduate students and assisting them in becoming wellrounded individuals with a wide range of experiences, both in and out of the classroom.

I may not be in a classroom myself, but working at the Ed School, I am interacting with a broad range of people to hopefully make their educational experience here positive, knowing that these people are graduating and going out to shape education on many different levels. Now that I am fully immersed in the world of education, I cannot picture myself being anywhere else.

— Kevin Boehm, Ed.M.'07, is the assistant director of the Ed School's Office of Student Affairs. Going back to school had an added bonus for him: He met his wife, Laura Potenski, Ed.M.'07, when she was also getting her master's. She is an eighth-grade special education teacher. And Mrs. Bones is happy her son is once again working with students.