2006.04.02: April 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kenya: Secondary Education: Science: RedNova : For more than a decade, Kenya RPCV Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School while teaching taught physics and mathematics

Peace Corps Online: State: West Virginia: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: West Virginia : 2006.04.02: April 2, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kenya: Secondary Education: Science: RedNova : For more than a decade, Kenya RPCV Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School while teaching taught physics and mathematics

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For more than a decade, Kenya RPCV Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School while teaching taught physics and mathematics

For more than a decade, Kenya RPCV Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School while teaching  taught physics and mathematics

In 1986, after receiving his bachelor's degree from WVU in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Roh joined the Peace Corps and traveled to the African country of Kenya.

For more than a decade, Kenya RPCV Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School while teaching taught physics and mathematics

Michael Roh: Engineer Discovers Love, Challenges of Teaching

By Mary Helen Hinchliffe, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.

Apr. 2--For more than a decade, Michael Roh has motivated students and athletes at University High School.

Since 1993, Roh has taught physics and mathematics and since 1995, has been the assistant coach for the UHS Hawks football team.

Despite his roots as a Morgantown High School graduate and as WVU alumni, he found his love of teaching on another continent.

In 1986, after receiving his bachelor's degree from WVU in mechanical and aerospace engineering, Roh joined the Peace Corps and traveled to the African country of Kenya.

However, Roh was surprised when, instead of working as an engineer, he was assigned to teach high-school level courses.

"I thought I'd probably be doing engineering, but when I got my placement I found out I was going to be a teacher," he said. "I taught math, physics and chemistry there."

Roh said he found the new work more challenging than he had expected.

"I thought, 'How difficult can the math be because I'm going to be in a small bush school,' " he said. "But their educational system is incredible, and every student has four years of physics, chemistry, biology and math. I felt pretty good, but it was amazing how much I had to learn."

After returning to the United States in 1988, Roh began his master's degree in mechanical engineering at WVU, but found he missed teaching in the classroom.

"I got my subbing certificate while I was finishing my thesis, and started to work as a substitute teacher," he said. "As soon as I did, I thought 'This is where I belong.' "

In 1993, Roh began working as a substitute teacher, mainly at University High School.

In 1994, he obtained his teaching certificate, and was hired as a full-time math and advanced placement physics teacher at UHS.

Roh said he enjoys the challenges of teaching and feels a sense of satisfaction with each graduating class.

"Each year, even though you are teaching the same courses over and over, it's a whole new set of students with different learning needs and desires for their life," he said. "There are literally thousands of kids you interact with, and it's a very neat thing."

Outside of the classroom, Roh enjoys watching physics in action. Assistant coach of the UHS Hawks football team, he said that watching the players in action sometimes reminds him of the world of physics.

"I've always enjoyed football, and it's something I wanted to do when I decided to become a teacher," he said. "I was fortunate that my second year at UHS, there was an opening and it all worked out."

During the Hawks 2005 season the team reached the state semi-finals with nine wins and four losses.

Roh graduated from Morgantown High School, but said he isn't bothered by coaching a rival school. Roh believes in coaching the same way he teaches.

"As a coach, I don't try to put myself up as a superior to the student or to the athlete," he said. "I kind of act as a more of an experienced student or colleague, and I think it makes them more comfortable with me."

His goal is to instill a sense of confidence in UHS students and athletes to pursue their dreams in the classroom and on the field, he said.

"Education is more than what you learn in a classroom," he said. "I know what it was like when I was 18 years old and was trying to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Anything is possible." Michael Roh OCCUPATION: mathematics and physics teacher and assistant football coach for University High School AGE: 41

FAMILY: wife, Joni, son, Adam, 8, and daughter, Lucy, 3

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Copyright (c) 2006, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.





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Story Source: RedNova

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Kenya; Secondary Education; Science

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