Teaching, A Family Business


Daria Khajavi

Matthew Shake teaching in his classroom

Kate Roney, News Editor

Strutting down the street in a funky-fresh outfit reminiscent of Johnny Travolta, he sways and bops to the sound of his walkman as he cheerily enjoys his ice-cream. A successful shooting, probably his first and last. Matthew Shake has just finished a commercial shooting out of charity for his friend, he did get paid, but acting isn’t his typical day job.

Shake is typically a teacher, a career choice that was never his intention. He has started teaching at Highland for the first time this year taking on different geography and social studies based curriculums. He had been teaching middle school, but boredom drove him to Highland, a school he had heard good things about.

“I just got kind of tired of teaching Utah Studies,” Shake said with a notable amount of distaste for the subject.

With the limited availability for middle school teaching opportunities when it comes to social studies, there were only two classes from which to choose, Utah studies and U.S. history. Shake explained how the other teacher loved teaching U.S. history and he had no desire to fight his colleague over teaching the course material. So he decided to apply for a highschool job. A highland opening came up and because of a friendship with both Kyle Bracken and Jennifer Jacobsen, he decided on Highland with the request of some good words to be put in about him. 

It has been a lot of hard work and long hours according to Shake as he attempts to build a new lesson plan for subjects he has never before taught. He got comfortable in teaching Utah studies with perfected lessons and practiced methods.

“But I love history, I LOVE it! So I’m learning a bunch of new things,” Shake said.

His love for history is shown in the way he talks about his new discoveries, as he ecstatically describes his new found knowledge of Islam in the thirteen hundreds.

“It’s fascinating to me, so I’ll go home and tell my family,including (my) second-grade son,” Shake said. “He has to listen to listen to me about history and he probably gets bored sometimes, but he seems to be interested in some of it.’’

It’s entirely possible that Shake’s young son will grow up and be a teacher. Shake’s parents were both teachers, and the career path seems to run in the blood. Shake didn’t want to be a teacher, he rebelled against it in fact, adamant to go a different direction than his parents.

He wanted to be a paleontologist. Then a policeman or a firefighter because of an inner hero complex, then the realization of his own mortality deterred him from making that choice. Then profootballor basketball, but he lacked the ability to play. Then a journalist, and finally a history teacher. The exact same career as his father.

“We were very honored,” said Terry Shake, Shake’s father.

Shake has a welcoming mannerism and teaches with a lot of energy.

“He (Shake) would say hi to anyone who came by the table, whether he knew them or not. So, we were always very proud to have him be willing to say hello to anyone,” Terry said.

Shake tried to stray from his parents lead but ended up as a history teacher like his father and he loves it. His father warned him not to be a coach, as he was one himself and found it unrewarding. With his track record of following after his father, we might see him coaching a sport in his time here at Highland.