Melinda Schwieder is a fine arts and history teacher at West Jefferson High School and West Jefferson Junior High. She teaches ceramics, calligraphy, art, yearbook, world history, photography and painting. Schwieder has been teaching for 10 years.

What made you decide to be a teacher? While in college, I majored in science as a freshman, planning on becoming a microbiologist and then changed to science education. I changed to history education as a sophomore and then as a junior, I flipped a coin on choosing my final major. I had taken so many art classes for fun that I could have graduated with either a major in art education or a major in history education in the same amount of time. I couldn’t choose so my father-in-law told me to flip a coin and art education won. I wouldn’t change the results if I could.

What do you enjoy about being a teacher? Learning and conversing with students.

What are some challenges? Time constraints.

What is an experience you have had as a teacher that stands out to you? Too difficult to narrow down. There are so many with various classes and in different situations.

Why did you decide to teach at the school you are currently at? I had just moved back into Idaho and was not even looking for work. I received a call from Mr. Murdock who was looking for an art teacher for WJHS. I interviewed the next day and received a job offer. I took the offer and never looked back.

What is something interesting about you most of your students don’t know? I believe I have told several people this, but I have a twin brother. Also, I am a major reader of fiction novels even though I discuss it with individuals very often.

What are some things that are different in the education system now compared to when you first started teaching/when you were a student? As a student in high school, we didn’t have access to WiFi or cell phones so that is a whole new level that challenged me as a teacher at first. Also, we didn’t have the opportunities for online classes or near the amount of electives offered at WJ.