Patrick Kirkland: The freshest face at Southeast


English teacher, Patrick Kirkland, teaches students about stereotypes in his English 9D class.

Nicole Tinius, Editor-in-Chief

At the beginning of second semester, Southeast welcomed English 9D and Reading Ideas teacher, Patrick Kirkland.

A Lincoln native, Kirkland is the latest addition to Southeast’s English department and he looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for learning with students.

His love for words first came to him when he was in sixth or seventh grade and influenced his decision to become a teacher, with other influences coming from great teachers he had as a student.

“I always remember, especially in middle school and high school, teachers that inspired me and saw talent in me that I may not have noticed,” Kirkland said. “[They] were encouraging and gave me really good feedback. That really helped.”

This year marks the fourth year of teaching for him, with his teaching career starting in Omaha at Monroe Middle School. While he was in Omaha, he taught sixth grade Reading and Language Arts. Even though he was teaching what he loved, Kirkland knew this placement wasn’t totally right for him.

“When I was [teaching] in Omaha, I was commuting. I didn’t even live in Omaha and I just felt like a visitor every day, like I wasn’t a part of the community,” Kirkland said. “I’m happy to be here at Southeast because my little brother goes here, I live nearby and I grew up in Lincoln, so I feel more a part of the community.”

Now that he’s at Southeast, Kirkland is eager to continue to learn and help teach the next group of students. He’s also excited to go back to the high school setting while looking through a different viewpoint.

“Even just sitting in a classroom and picking up on what your peers think, like a teacher will, kind of makes you look at things in a different way,” Kirkland said. “I just always have been interested about that kind of stuff. I’m curious.”

This curiosity and love of learning is what ultimately influenced his choice to become a teacher and has brought him back to one of his highschool hobbies of playing drums. 

“I played [drums] a lot by myself just in high school, but wasn’t in a band. I just had a drum set in my house,” Kirkland said. “I didn’t play for a long time, until a couple of my friends, [who] are really talented guitar players and songwriters, needed a drummer. That’s been fun.”

While Kirkland is revisiting one of his hobbies from high school, he remembers how he didn’t always love school as a teenager. The one class he always seemed to have more fun in was English class, even though he thought he was better in different subjects. 

“I always thought I was pretty good at math and science and stuff, but then, throughout high school, I really liked English [class]. I had some English teachers who really encouraged me to pursue that,” Kirkland said. “I had more fun in [English] classes because you’re talking about different stuff every day and you’re always reading and learning new things.”

There was a period of time that Kirkland was away from the school setting, and it was in those moments that he realized that getting to work in a school environment was really important. 

“I worked at a bank for a couple years and I really hated it. Then I decided, I think I was right when I was a kid. I should go back and be a teacher.”

Now that he’s back, he says that he’s “excited to be in a high school.”