NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to continue its Teachers of New Jersey series in 2018. This editorial series is curated by photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. These stories highlight the joys, struggles, and personal reflections that surround being a teacher.
This week we interview Lacey Township High school teacher, Jeremy Murmann.
“I was a commercial crabber before I ever was a teacher. I was crabbing from the time I was 10 years old. My dad is a commercial crabber too, and he couldn’t get me off of the boat when I was a kid, so I basically worked for him every day. I still work for him to this day — on weekends and holidays. Yet, I also wanted to be a newscaster, in either TV or radio news. I have wanted to do that from the time I was 14. You couldn’t get me out from behind a camera. I was doing little mini-documentaries from behind the boat, so I was marrying my two passions of filming and crabbing.”
“My high school teacher had talked me into getting an Alternate Route degree to teach television production technology. I graduated college in 2001. When an opportunity came up at Lacey Township High School as a teacher of TV production — I applied and I got the job. It became the perfect fit for me. I was able to pursue my two passions: still being able to crabbing and fishing with my dad , and being able to teach kids in 9th through 12th grades telecommunications. My class includes a wide variety of topics, including filmmaking, broadcast news writing, and media literacy.”
“I also run a fishing club at the school. It is something for the kids who are not involved in other activities. The thing that shocked me the most though, is how many kids grew up in this area, and have never grabbed a fishing pole, or even caught a crab. I hate to sound like the old codger who says, ‘It’s those video games,’ but maybe that’s what it is. Or maybe it’s the decline in fishing opportunities. I don’t know. But there was definitely a need there that we didn’t realize, until we started this club and all of these kids came out.”
“I have so many kids who have caught their first striped bass, or their first sea bass, but the one that always gets them excited is when they catch their first sand shark. They absolutely love it. We have about 35 kids in the club each year, boys and girls from all four grades. We get a lot of special needs kids in the club too. Some of the kids who joined the club, who have had previous fishing experience, become mentors to the kids who have no experience, and find the same satisfaction that I get in seeing these kids learn how to fish.”
“I also co-teach an autism class for TV Production. There are six students in that class, and each one is paired with a mentor. They just finished up an entry for the NJ High School Film Challenge. They were so over-the-moon about this entry. It was so much fun. We have a film festival at our school on May 8th, which is when they will premiere their film. They also got accepted to the Ocean County Library Film Festival as well. They got picked along with 39 other films out of 160 entries. They are so unbelievably talented.”
“I have such a great sense of satisfaction from all of these experiences. This year I was voted Teacher of the Year for Lacey Township High School. I never thought I would get something like that, because I don’t have my Master’s degree, and I took an Alternative Route, and I am not an academic teacher…so when I got it, it was such a big shock to me. It means the world to me. I absolutely love what I do here at Lacey Township High School.”