The history posters and inspirational banners that neatly line Lory Dillon’s classroom walls perfectly match her driven personality. One only needs to take a step into A-302 to see Dillon’s dedication to teaching and to her students. Her down-to-earth personality and approachability makes her a welcome addition to the Kaiser High School campus.
As the new history teacher for sophomores, Dillon considers it a priority that her students are able to apply history to current events of the world. “History is important because in many aspects, history repeats itself and we can figure out solutions to our problems today by studying problems of the past and how they were handled effectively, or maybe not so effectively,” she said.
Dillon went to law school and was an attorney for several years before becoming a teacher. “I enjoy teaching and I enjoy the students, and I think it’s a lot more fun than being a lawyer.” Although the transition from law to education might seem like a leap to some people, Dillon says that being an attorney has prepared her for teaching. “As an attorney, you have to talk to large groups of people and you have to not be nervous to address an audience. I used to have to do seminars where I had to talk to rooms full of hundreds of accountants.”
Her ability to communicate with others and connect with them is evident in her personal philosophy towards teaching. Dillon considers connecting with her students extremely important. Throughout her 14 years of teaching, she has taught students in West Virginia and Florida. “I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve maintained contact with a lot of my students over the years, some of whom are adults now and have their families.” She said that she’s still teaching them, “not so much about social studies but about how to be a parent, how to find a job, how to apply for graduate school, those sorts of things.”
Dillon firmly believes that in the classroom, the students are her top priority. “If students are having a difficult time, I generally try to understand what might be going on with them personally and try to give the students the benefit of the doubt – that maybe they’re just having a bad day or something might be off,” she said. “If I start to see that there’s a pattern of having a hard time [in] class, then I would talk to them individually and see what I can do to help them do better.” Dillon hopes that, regardless of their situation, all of her students will be able to learn something in her class because she thinks history is an incredibly important subject. “If students don’t have any appreciation of our past, it’s very hard to understand and appreciate the current problems we have in the world,” she said.
Dillon considers teaching at Kaiser to be an honor and wishes to stay here for the rest of her career. Despite the challenges that come with being a public school teacher, she finds the job to be a particularly worthwhile one. “Probably the most rewarding things about teaching are the [connections] I establish with my students and their families, and the community,” she said. Dillon’s dedication to her students will make her a great asset to Kaiser High School for many years to come.