Mariner’s One and Only, Señor Jaeger

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David Gibson, Staffer

One of the most interesting things about Mariner is its staff. One of the staff members, in particular, Neil Jaeger, is a man who found his love for teaching when he was in Honduras, teaching professionals. Jaeger is one of the many instructors who teach language courses required to graduate, so why not learn more about this cool and outgoing staff member? 

Jaeger went to Cascade High School without knowing what exactly he wanted to be and continued with this mindset through college. However, what had brought him to teaching was the Peace Corps, along with his genuine care for kids. 

“I genuinely like kids, and my students recognize that in me, but I’m also committed to giving them the skills they need to be successful and designing my class, so it’s interesting and fun. It’s easier in Spanish because reading, writing, listening, and speaking, there are lots of activities and approaches you can take.” 

Jaeger’s family is of German heritage, and Jaeger studied German in high school and college but feels that he is barely fluent in the language. He says that his grandma had taught him and his sister German (they would say prayers and other phrases in German). He also learned a bit of French. 

Teaching Spanish is something Jaeger enjoys because of the language itself, saying that there are times where expression is easier in Spanish than in English because of how bonded he is with the language. 

Who inspired Jaeger to teach? That was Jack Metcalf. Metcalf was Jaeger’s US History teacher at Cascade that would soon become a US Representative. Metcalf inspired Jaeger with his interest in politics. The two would work on term limits for senators and representatives. Even though their work was rejected, it allowed Jaeger to travel across the state. Jaeger then added that he never really thought of anyone who had inspired him until after he became a teacher. 

Jaeger feels that his experience playing soccer and teaching are similar. From a coaching perspective, he believes it’s similar. “The more you play, the better you get. The best way to learn is to give them a game plan and then have them play a really bad team so that they could practice the things that you want them to work on because it gives them space and ability to practice what they need.”

Social Studies isn’t so easy [to teach] Jaeger says: ”You got to give them a framework. Got to give them writing skills, you got to give them reading skills, the set of skills is different. And the way you hone those skills is by using them, and that’s not as fun, and so it’s hard to find a way to read except for reading. And if the student doesn’t like reading, then it’s not fun, so what you have to do is you have to start with the framework and so that they know and so that they have a paradigm.”

When asked about his favorite thing about Mariner, Jaeger says, ”I grew up in a lot of places, but I was a teenager in South Everett, and so here I am teaching teenagers in South Everett, and, I mean, it just strikes a chord with me. It just is more meaningful being here in my community, giving back.”