Curry Goff, a biology teacher at The Colony High School, was recently named Lewisville ISD’s Secondary Teacher of the Year. Below, Goff talks about his career, teaching methods and what he likes to do away from school.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I was born and raised in Little Elm, Texas (much to the disdain of my students). I went to LEISD schools for my K-12 education, and then attended and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin.
How long have you been a teacher?
I just completed my fourth year in the classroom. Every year has been at The Colony High School.
Teacher of the Year is a big honor. What makes you an effective teacher?
I think I strike a good balance between teaching content and teaching kids. There are days where my students are ready to dive into deep content and really dig into difficult concepts. There are other days where they need to process something happening in their world. I think being an effective teacher means I meet all of my content-related responsibilities while also understanding and being attuned to the daily needs of my students as human beings.
Do you have a technique that you have found students really respond to?
I don’t know if this is a technique, per se, but one thing I have started doing is asking students on a questionnaire, “What is one thing you could teach me?” This kind of catches them off guard, but once they get the gist of it, they add the coolest things. Once I have that list, I’ll systematically ask each of them throughout the year to teach me about the thing they listed. I have learned the most interesting things about my students from this simple question, and I think they get a kick out of it, too.
What word would your students use to describe you?
I asked my students this question, and here is a smattering of what they said: “Engaging, encouraging, and receptive.”
What are your future career aspirations?
I plan to work in public education for the rest of my career. I think I want to eventually be a high school principal, and anything beyond that is yet to be determined. I just know I want to be working in some way to help students, and I’ll pick the best and most fitting way for me to do that!
What kind of student were you when you were younger?
I was a pretty dedicated student in high school. Once I figured out after my freshman year that they ranked us based on our grades, I became pretty competitive with it! I wish I could go back and learn for the sake of learning rather than just getting a specific grade. I try to pass that perspective on to my kids.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
The majority of my spare time is spent hanging out with my wife, Katy, and my two daughters, Eloise and Hannah. When I am not hanging out with them, I love to go rock climbing and running.
What is something your students would be surprised to know about you?
Surprisingly, I actually quit my first teaching job. I was fresh out of college and a part of a program called, “Teach for America.” I was also freshly married and swimming in life responsibilities. I felt overwhelmed and lost, and thought I was a terrible teacher in the process. The hardest decision I ever made was to walk away from that job. I still wrestle with that decision I made seven years ago, but I know I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today if I hadn’t had that experience.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Based on sheer volume of episodes watched, my favorite would probably be “Boy Meets World.” If we are talking relevant shows that people actually still watch, it would probably be “The Office.”
What three famous people would you like to meet?
Jordan Spieth (even though I played junior golf with him a lot growing up, I would love to play another round with him), Tommy Caldwell (a professional rock climber) and Ben Rector (one of my favorite musicians).