Kirk Niese

Name: Kirk M. Niese

Position: 8th Grade Casco Science

Years at MAMS: 20

Years in Education: 27


What is the strangest job that you’ve ever had?
I have had some wonderful jobs over the years as a movie theatre candy/ticket salesman, a short order cook, van driver, wilderness trip leader and logger. While I didn't find it strange, one of the more interesting jobs that I've held was as the Assistant Coordinator/Teacher for the Chewonki Foundation's  traveling natural history program. On any given day, I could be traveling as far north as Fort Kent with a van full of live Egyptian Fruit Bats, Brown Bats, up to 4 species of Owls, a variety of reptiles (including a 4 foot long American Alligator) and a Porcupine (for which would wear a face shield, welder's gloves, and 3 layers of Carhartts to avoid getting quilled.....which still wasn't quite enough.) I miss working with the owls in particular and I still have a VERY healthy respect for porcupines! 

If you could switch jobs with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?   
I've always thought that it would  be fun to take part in a teaching exchange and teach science in a remote area of Scotland,  Greenland,  or Canada's Arctic.  I've  also always had a fascination for tug boats. and so if I could switch jobs with anyone it would be with a tug boat captain working on an ocean going salvage tug. (The Grey Seas Under and The Serpent's Coil are two fantastic books by Canadian author Farley Mowat about Salvage Tugs)  

If you had some free time, how would you spend it? OR How do you spend your summer vacations? 
 I love spending time outside with my own children and love swimming with them in the summer.  While I work throughout the summer cutting trees/making firewood,   I have loved climbing in the mountains of Maine and the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and paddling Maine's rivers/lakes on my days off.  Going up to the New England Forest Rally to watch some of the world's greatest rally drivers has been a thrill as well! 

What does a typical day at MAMS look like for you? 
One of my favorite parts of the day is doing morning check-ins with my students during advisory.     After advisory, I typically teach four classes in a row, take a short lunch break, supervise motor break, host Target Time and then meet with my team to check in about students in the afternoon.  While no day is the same, this is pretty much my schedule.  

What do you love about middle school?   
For me, working with middle school students and their parents has always been a fantastic experience.  I know of no other age group that is so willing to engage and be engaged by teachers on so many levels.  In my 27 years of teaching in a classroom and many years of working with middle school-aged students as a trip leader and camp counselor, no teaching day has ever been the same nor have I ever laughed with any group of teachers and students quite so much as I have at MAMS. I've had the good fortune to work with so many great people! 

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