Gravity, nature inspire Naas Elementary teacher
Money has never been the motivation for Chris Goede, a fifth-grade teacher at Naas Elementary School in Boring.
That his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa was in journalism indicates as much.
"It's not a very lucrative job," Goede jokes about news gathering. "So I got into the big-bucks job: teaching."
His original career path stemmed from his interest in the Japanese language and finding something with which he could use those skills and travel.
After graduating, he worked as a teacher and coach at a junior high school in Iowa, before becoming an international consultant with multiple businesses, one of which was Vanport in Boring, a forest products company with ties to Japan.
With its proximity to the slopes and outdoor recreation opportunities, Oregon — Boring, specifically — was just the place for Goede.
"Oregon had that combination, where I could do snowboarding, and Japanese was useful," he explains.
While at Vanport, he also taught snowboarding at Timberline Lodge resort, and winter sports remain among his favorite outside-of-work activities.
After spending a time teaching English in Japan, Goede decided to become a full-time educator. In 2006, he obtained a master's degree in teaching from Willamette University.
"I've enjoyed elementary teaching. I think I've found the job. I think when you enjoy what you're doing, you do better at it," he says.
Goede is now in his second year at Naas Elementary, but he's been in the district for more than a decade. His first teaching job brought him back from Japan to Boring, to Kelso Elementary School, where he taught for four years. He then spent five years with Oregon Trail Academy before taking his current position.
He's also the snowboarding coach for Canby High School. Otherwise, when Goede's not working, he likes to hike and spend time with his wife and two young daughters. He also has a certain affinity for downhill skateboarding, and volunteered for five years with the Festival of Speed at the Maryhill Loops outside Goldendale, Wash. He still helps out with the local group there, the Maryhill Rats.
As much as he enjoys visceral activities in nature, at work Goede focuses on piquing his students interests.
"(In) my job as an educator — there's not one thing I'm going teach them that will make them successful," he says. "But getting them excited about learning and teaching them to learn will get them further in life."
He admits catering to a "variety of abilities" can be a challenge, but one he happily accepts. He sees taking on — and overcoming — the challenge as his reward.
"If I can get them to be passionate about learning," Goede adds. "That, I get enjoyment out of."