Name: Kristina Batalden
Position: English/ language arts teacher at Skyline High School
Years experience: Eighth year at Skyline, 26th year with District 91
What made you want to become a teacher?
My junior English teacher, Mrs. Berry, struggled to teach Western Literature. I enjoyed the class but the young men next to me were so distracting — it was obvious they didn’t enjoy the class. I saw a challenge. I wanted to show students how incredibly interesting English class could be.
What do you enjoy the most about teaching high school English?
I enjoy the deep discussion moments — they are a rarity, but when they happen, they are so satisfying. When a student suddenly understands a piece of literature or a poem in a way he or she didn’t think was possible… that is my favorite moment.
Can you tell me a little about the class you co-teach with one of the history teachers?
Teaching American Studies with Chase Meyer has been one of my greatest joys. Because 11th-grade American Literature lines up beautifully with American History in 11th grade, we are able to co-teach through the eras of American history using great literature. The Great Gatsby/Roaring '20s and Of Mice and Men/The Great Depression are just two examples of how literature can accentuate the American cultural thought of an era.
Skyline is one of the schools that could be renovated in the next bond. What are the most pressing issues you see at the school?
To be honest, I think the biggest issue this city faces is the future of Idaho Falls High School. But with that being said, Skyline needs a new roof. Sometimes when it snows heavily, the snow comes into our rooms. Skyline needs one easy-to-find front door. Have you seen how many doors we have? No one ever knows how to get into our school — irritating, but not pressing.
Is there any advice that you like to give students as they prepare to graduate high school?
1. Investigate a profession and don’t leave out the obvious: plumber, electrician, automotive, truck driving, railroad engineers… These are commendable careers that keep our country working from year to year, but they require training.
2. Keep all doors open. Often, one mistake closes a door that can never be reopened. You do not know how you will feel in five years, so think about that future you when you make decisions.