As a product of a Delran education, Jonathan Skvir always knew he wanted to work with children.
After graduating from college, he made his way back to Delran and, ironically, is now teaching eighth grade science in the same class where he first learned the curriculum.
To say teaching is Skvir’s calling may not actually do it justice. From volunteering at the Montessori School in the township as a high school student to ultimately becoming the 2020 Delran Middle School Educator of the Year, it has been a great ride.
“Receiving the award felt great,” said Skvir. “It felt a little awkward because I don’t necessarily like all the attention on me, but it honestly feels fantastic to be honored.
“It’s a really rewarding feeling,” he added. “There’s a lot of really good teachers in this building that I know are deserving, if not more deserving than I am.”
While Skvir doesn’t necessarily know what sparked his passion for teaching, he can remember always wanting to work with children. Whether it was in church groups or Sunday School, the excitement kids showed about learning was always contagious to Skvir.
Skvir originally thought he would teach younger children in the third to fifth grade age group. But he found himself teaching eighth grade as a substitute and quickly realized he loved teaching that age group. He also realized there was a major learning curve to teaching.
“Education every couple of years has its change, where there’s a different flavor of the month,” Skvir noted. “But the basic thing coming in as a teacher in the beginning that you have to learn is that it’s great if the kids like you, but it’s more important that they respect and listen to you.
“The first year or two, I may have been trying to be their friend a little more than I should have, but as time goes on I learned that you can still be friendly with them. But you have to have that professional student-teacher rapport,” he continued. “It’s not that they have to like you, but If you do have a good relationship with them it makes your job easier.
“With that mutual respect, they’ll want to do things for you and vice versa.”