Teachers Teaching Teachers: English Department

Have you ever thought that 10 years from now you could be teaching in the same school as your teachers currently? This is something Peggy Dolson, Nick Borchert, and Kedi Ochs have experienced. All of these teachers were either in the past a student or teacher of one another.



From left to right: Nick Borchert, Peggy Dolson, and Kedi Ochs all English teachers. Dolson has had both of them as students.

By Piper Koski, Liberty High School - IA

Flashback to the past, people would look into Dolson’s class and see young 9th grade Borchert in her English and Social Studies. Borchert was a quiet, shy student with a keen interest in learning and thinking who pushed himself to strive in the classroom setting.

Similarly, Ochs was in her English 10 class. Ochs was an expressive student, who also strived to succeed in school.

As we flash forward to the present, Ochs, Borchert, and Dolson are all on the same hallway of Liberty. Dolson did not expect Borchert to take the teaching path when he was in high school. She thought he would end up working as an engineer, but one day he showed up across the hall from her at West High as a student-teacher. During this time, they were able to form a teacher relationship, which resulted in Dolson wanting Borchert as a sub.

Dolson said, “My students really liked his perspectives and his engagement. When I was hired at Liberty as part of the Transition Team, I encouraged Nick to apply, and here we are.”

Borchert would not have it any other way. He loves teaching at Liberty and having Dolson a few doors down.

“Mrs. Dolson can retire if and when I retire, maybe because I’m not sure what Liberty’s English department would do without her.  Really and truly, she’s an inspiration to anyone who believes in the potential of every single student,” said Borchert.

For Ochs, Dolson had kept him in her thoughts over the past few years after finding out that he was studying to become a teacher.

“I always admired his strength and friendliness and perseverance. His road wasn’t easy, but he always seemed to believe in possibilities,” said Dolson.

One thing she knew for sure was that he would be positive and work for his goals. Ochs’s student-taught with one of Dolson’s friends at West High and Dolson knew that once Liberty opened up the job offer for an English teacher that Ochs would be a perfect fit.

With Ochs being new to the teaching career, he has been able to relate some of his style of teaching to his former teachers. One experience he had with Dolson as a student changed his view on student-teacher relationships.

“There’s a lot going on outside of class that we may not know about, so when these things do come to light, it’s important to take off the teacher hat and be a human,” Ochs stated.

Dolson was able to treat him like a human when things were not going well in his personal life and this simple human connection went a long way. A personal conversation between the two was able to show Ochs that someone cared about him.

“Compassion goes a long way,” Ochs said.

He strives to represent this in his classroom every day.

Now that all of their paths have to lead to the same place they are able to help teach each other and grow off of one another’s strengths as teachers.

This story was originally published on The Live Wire on November 14, 2019.