Alixandra Coker is a biology teacher for the Integrated Arts and Academics program (IAA), as well as a forensics teacher. She answered a handful of questions for the Camasonian’s new series called “Get to Know You,” which aims to inform the public, ideally staff, students, and parents, to get to know staff members and what they do.
C: What influenced you to be a teacher?
AC: “I had a really awesome fourth-grade teacher named Mrs. Mcaw who put me in charge of the science fair for planets. That was it. I was sold.”
C: If you were to be doing something other than teaching, which job do you think you’d go for?
AC: “I would probably work in a lab, but they don’t work with people as much. I like working with people. Or I would be a farmer.”
C: What crops would you grow?
AC: “I have a big community garden already, so I would just grow a bunch of vegetables; and I’ve raised pigs before, and chickens, and I like goats, I think. To make some cheese.”
C: Do you know Mrs. Inzalaco?
AC: “I don’t know her very well, but I know that her husband has, like, an awesome organic farm. I’m kind of jealous.”
C: What’s your favorite part about teaching?
AC: “There’s never – I’m never bored. I like working with teenagers. I think that they’re always interesting, exciting, really deep people. And I like when students like what we’re learning and they get it. Maybe they’ve struggled before and they finally are like ‘Yes! I get it now!’ or ‘Oh, that makes a lot of sense,’ or ‘Now I like science,’ or those kinds of things, but in general I just like working with goofy teenagers. They make me laugh, they make me smile. That’s what I like. Even if I taught them no science I think I’d still have a decent time.”
C: What’s something you’d want your students to know about you?
AC: “That I care about them and that I want them to do well even if it’s not in my class, just in life, and that we do care about them.”
C: How would you describe your high school teachers?
AC: “They were a lot more strict, I think, than I am. But I grew up not having a lot of stuff and my dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was in high school, and so they provided a lot of stuff for me, they helped me afford food, and they helped me wash my clothes, and they were kind of my support. I think that’s also probably something that influenced me to become a teacher, but some of the things that students say to me, I would have never said to my teachers in a million years. So I don’t know if, like, I’ve changed as, like, an adult or if, like, students are coming in now are just more comfortable with their teachers. I just don’t know with the shift in dynamic is there, but my teachers were just more, like, stoic and you didn’t mess with them. But I was, like, a goody-two-shoes, so.”
C: What was your favorite high school experience?
AC: “I got to dance in the Superbowl. I did a lot of dance stuff that was really neat. Like, I got to travel and compete and, like that and gymnastics stuff, I don’t know if that was really related to, like, school – school. I mean, I was part of their drill team, but I guess that’s what, like, really stands out, I guess.”
C: Do you still dance?
AC: “Um, did you not see my tap dance last year at the IAA showcase? I did a tap dance. But no, I don’t really do much anymore. It was awesome by the way. I have it on tape, Ms. Seidl and me.”
C: What’s your most memorable teaching experience?
AC: “My first year of teaching two students got in a really big fight in my classroom and they pulled their hair out and slammed their heads on lab tables. And I was only twenty-three, it was my first year of teaching I taught at a really … different place than Camas, so, yeah that’s something that really stands out.”
C: Do you have any hobbies? /What do you like to do in your free time?
AC: “I like to garden. I like animals. I also like just chilln’. I like to cook with my husband, he’s a really good cook. I’m involved in politics outside of school, so I do a lot of that. I do a lot of other stuff with the green team. Otherwise, just relaxing.”
C: What kind of political stuff do you do?
AC: “I help local candidates with, like, outreach and volunteer improvement and my husband worked for a congressional campaign this past season, so I helped with a lot of that. “
C: If you were to have a superpower, which one would you want to have?
AC: “Probably flying. Cus I don’t want to know what people think. I know a lot of people, that’s what they, like, want to be able to read minds. I don’t – I have no interest in what people think.”
C: Do you have a favorite/most memorable vacation? Or a place where you would want to go?
AC: “I went to Costa Rica a while ago and that was really neat. I’d like to go to Greece, my family’s from there. That would be the ultimate dream vacation, but I don’t know if I’d ever go.”