Educator of the Week: Adam Martin

by by Emma Widmar – Racine County Eye in Racine, Wisconsin – USA

Adam Martin has taken the road less traveled, and it is that path that led him to Racine. Becoming an Educator wasn’t where Martin saw his future, but it’s definitely where he’s meant to be. This first-grade teacher at Jefferson Lighthouse International Baccalaureate Elementary School strives to be the best he can be during these unusual times.

Racine Unified School District has been operating online this school year due to COVID-19. While new to virtual teaching, Martin is not new to the education field. Before his current position, he taught at Julian Thomas Elementary School. This year will be his fifth year as a teacher.

Martin was born and raised in New Mexico. From there, he moved to Nebraska for college and attended the University of Nebraska. He was a member of the football team there for 2 years. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in finance. He wanted to work in the stock market, specifically. However, at the time of his graduation, the United States faced the Great Recession of 2008.

Martin was without work but he had a degree. After thinking about what he would do, he joined the military. Martin says, “My grandparents and my dad were in the military. So, I decided to go through with it. Since I had my degree, I applied to officer school.”

He was accepted and spent 6 years serving in the United States Army. He ended his career as a Captain. The ending of his military career was also the start of his journey to becoming an educator. He can’t help but to thank his wife for the encouragement.

Becoming an Educator

Martin met his wife, Heidi, online. Their relationship was long distance while he was serving. This educator is no stranger to making things work with the help of technology. After his time serving, he took a leap of faith and moved to Wisconsin.

The next phase of his life began while working as a substitute teacher. He worked in high schools and middle schools. Martin got his teaching license at Cardinal Stritch University and his Master’s degree in Early Childhood Literacy.

His love for teaching was found when he subbed for his wife’s classroom. She is now a first-grade teacher at Wisconsin Virtual Academy and has been teaching for 9 years.

Martin says, “Education is a primarily female dominate field, but as a male first-grade teacher, it helps bring a different lens to the classroom.”

Teaching During a Pandemic

The Martins enjoy teaching and learning together. Even during a pandemic, the couple is finding ways to reach their students best. “First grade is a crucial time in a child’s life,” Martin says. “There is a lot of transformation that happens during the year.”

Martin is making sure that during this year that he makes a positive change in children’s lives. He’s further advancing his education so that he can further help students. He is currently a student at Cardinal Stritch University, earning his reading license.

Martin says, “I see the struggle. I see the problems. I want to dive deeper into the science of why and what is happening.”

Even though Martin is not physically face-to-face with students, he understands how crucial this year is. He explains, “students gain a lot of independence, as first graders. It’s fun to see their growth and virtual learning isn’t taking away from that.”

Children have endured more than imaginable. Martin says, “Kids are not losing out. They are exceptional. Children are learning from this experience. Our world is focused heavily on technology. I am using that to my advantage and incorporating that into my lessons.”

Everyone can agree that this academic year is far from the imaginable. However, children in Martin’s classroom aren’t just making ends meet. They are surpassing our expectations.

Martin Makes His Mark

Martin is making his mark. He says where he is now is “not anywhere I thought I would be, but the road I was meant to be on.”

The Racine County Eye wants to thank Martin for his service to students in Racine County. Exploring education and learning from this experience is no easy task. Martin has taken on multiple roles and is wearing multiple hats. As a father, husband, and educator – there is a person behind all of those titles that wants to see students excel.

Martin is the Educator of the week because of his service and commitment to the community. In honor of his achievement, he encourages that the community takes time to thank a teacher.