An Interview with Mrs. Kallas

by Stuart Dent (Sample Assignment)

Veteran Teacher Enters 27th Year

After 27 years of teaching, Karen Kallas says she would not have considered a career doing anything else. She has loved working with students of all types throughout her career, teaching a variety of courses in grades 9 - 12.

Mrs. Kallas obtained her bachelor of science degree from South Dakota State University in 1983.. She began her master of science degree from the University of Minnesota and completed it at Texas Woman's University in 1992.

In 1990, Mrs. Kallas began teaching in Texas public schools at Trinity High School. She taught Family and Consumer Science classes (child development, nutrition and food science, and individual and family life) and sponsored Future Homemakers of America (FHA), now known as Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FFCLA). In 1998, she became the Coordinator of the HEB ISD school-age parents program. Her responsibilities included teaching FCS classes, coordinating programs for school-age parents, and overseeing the on-site child care center.

In 2000, Mrs. Kallas joined Birdville ISD and taught morning classes at Richland High School and afternoon classes at Birdville High School. In 2001, she joined the staff at BHS full time. It was then that Mrs. Kallas taught the first class offered in BISD for students wanting to explore careers in the area of education. It was called Ready, Set, Teach! Since that time, the education and training strand of courses has grown and moved to its current home at the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning.

Entering her 27th year of teaching, Mrs. Kallas says that each year is as exciting as her first. She looks forward to getting to know her new students each year and helping them discover if a teaching career lies in their futures.

Mrs. Kallas is Passionate About Teaching

Here are some facts that I uncovered during my interview with Mrs. Kallas:

Classes She Teaches:

  • Principles of Education and Training (9 - 12)
  • Instructional Practices in Education and Training (11 - 12)
  • Practicum in Education and Training (12)
Classroom Environment:
  • Pods of tables for 4 students with supplies (markers, scissors, tape, pens, etc.)
  • SMART Board
  • 20 laptops and cart
  • 10 iPads
  • Area for turning in work
  • Storage crates for class binders
  • Bright walls (lime green and purple) with colorful posters
  • Bulletin boards with student leadership information
What She Likes the Most About Teaching:
  • Seeing students make decisions about their career paths (and their lives)

Teaching Style (as described by Mrs. Kallas):

  • "I would say my style is differentiated. I like to give students different choices to master the same TEKS. The best assignments I give have options from which students can choose."
Hours Per Week:
  • 50 - 54

Strategies Used:

  • I observed Mrs. Kallas's students working with "shoulder partners" in a pair-share activity. Also, she told me she likes to have her students blog about current events and trends in education as a way to improve writing skills.

Classroom Management Techniques:

  • Mrs. Kallas has tubs of supplies placed on each pod of desks so that students do not have to get up during class.
  • Mrs. Kallas has a designated place in the classroom for students to turn in work.
  • Students keep binders of their work to mark progress.
  • Students exit the room each day with an "exit ticket." This may be anything from handing in an assignment to writing down information on an index card and turning it in to Mrs. Kallas as they leave the room.