PAYETTE — With the Payette School District having set sail for the 2020-21 school year, so does a new teacher on his maiden voyage. Gideon Hennig is the new special education teacher at Payette High School, having joined the Pirate crew after growing up in Portland and Beaverton in Oregon. He is teaching special education at Payette High School, including language arts, history and civics, and a study skills class.
Working with kids is nothing new for Hennig, as he took opportunities to help in classrooms between semesters at the University of Oregon.
“I have been working with children for the past four years during college on my breaks as a teachers assistant and I just happened to have the opportunity to become a teacher for a couple of years, so I jumped on the chance,” said Hennig in an email on Aug. 21. “I am really glad I did because I honestly love everyone to death in the Payette community and district.”
Even though he is new to the area, Hennig said he is finding his way around quickly.
“I am already starting to build significant relationships in the two weeks I have been here both in the school and in my new community. I didn’t choose the subject I taught but Special Education is a very underprivileged area within schools and I believe I have the patience and skill necessary to succeed in this field and really push my students to become the best they can be.”
His hiring coincided with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hennig acknowledges the challenges it brings to the classroom.
“I think with the global pandemic the hardest challenges are preparing online lessons and curriculum as well as holding students accountable to their education. I believe we at Payette High School have a really good plan with Canvas as an LMS (learning management system) and are continually developing strategies and ideas on how to start off the school year on the right foot with student attendance (both online and in-person).”
In choosing where to start his career, Hennig said he chose Payette because he feels a strong positive dynamic between teachers and administration.
“I really do love the community here and we have an amazing administrative team that is constantly updating us and working on strategies for teachers in these turbulent times. The communication and positivity of everyone here at Payette High School are inspiring.”
Hennig said his main message to students as his teaching voyage begins is not to get sidetracked by world events.
“We are facing unprecedented times in the world right now, so I want us to really focus on working together to make this year a successful and enjoyable one, and that is going to take everyone’s effort and determination as we face any number of struggles. I will be depending on you all as much as I hope you will depend on and trust me in this new year, let’s make it an amazing one.”
Hennig holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration from the University of Oregon. His hobbies include reading fantasy novels and playing video games. He now lives in Nampa with his future wife, Jessica. Their wedding date is to be announced.
“But we are very much in love,” Hennig noted.