This is the first in a series of features on educators from local school districts.
The new physical education teacher at Washington High School, Marlin Ellis, recently talked about how he landed his job in the city schools.
Ellis was born and raised in Vandalia, Ohio. He attended Vandalia Butler High School and graduated in 2011. Ellis went on to attend the private Bluffton University, which is in the Lima/Findlay area and graduated from there in 2015.
“I was just looking around and knew I wanted to get a good teaching job,” Ellis said. “I had just completed my four years of health and PE in education, and we at Bluffton were kind of fortunate, especially for a small school….there is a thing called Ed Expo. Up to 40 to 50 school districts come into our gym and set up booths. They come in and say ‘Hey we need such and such teacher, or this many teachers, or a teacher in this subject or this subject,’ and Court House happened to be at the Expo. Superintendent (Matthew) McCorkle was there and I didn’t even interview with them. They were not even a school on my radar, as I was looking for something in the Dayton area since I used to live there, and I also was looking for schools in the Lima and Findlay areas since I was going to school there.”
Ellis had already completed the interviews he came to the expo for, and it was at the end when he ran into the superintendent. He explained that he ran into McCorkle in the hallway, who saw his name tag reading, “Marlin Ellis, Health and PE,” and McCorkle asked Ellis about it. Ellis gave him his resume and the rest was history. Ellis received a call back later, went through a few more interviews, and in August 2015 he joined the Washington High School staff.
“I like it a lot and I enjoy it,” Ellis said. “I enjoy the community and the students. For the most part when I come to work, it does not feel like work. It just feels natural. Everyone here works really well together. The camaraderie between all the teachers is great, and everyone talks to everyone. Everything is great and I have made a few friends. The people I coach with especially, like Corey Dye, Patrick at Belle Aire, Enochs at Belle Aire and all of the guys on the staff coaching. Of course, my mentor Louis Reid, who has been here for 15 years, has especially been a good friend. He is someone I can always talk to and interestingly enough was basically in the same position I am in now. To the point that I actually live in the apartment he lived in 15 years ago. He can kind of tell me from the experience and has been a close friend to me.”
This new teacher has wanted to be one as far as he can remember, recalling that health and physical education were his favorite subjects. Ellis has wanted to do this as well because he remembered how much of an impact sports can have on whether a student goes to college or not. He knew he wanted to be in something health centered and physically centered because he thoroughly enjoys not only practicing sports, but also nutrition and overall fitness.
“Difficult parts? Maybe a kid who might have a bad home life or those students who give you a challenge,” Ellis said. “I feel like that is the roughest thing. You want to help them and you try your best to help them. Sometimes though you have to remember that you have a whole class. You don’t want to sacrifice helping this one student because you have a whole class to serve. There are not many of those students though, a few, but not a lot.”
He continued by talking about the positive aspects of his job, with a quick response that he just likes being able to influence kids. He likes to be a positive and influential role model on the lives of these impressionable students, citing that they are going through a transitional period where they are figuring out who they are and what they want to do. Deciding between friends, what good and bad is, the direction they want to go, these are all aspects Ellis enjoys being, what he considers, a minor part of.
“I would like to see more progress in PE since I am in it,” Ellis said. “I would like more recognition and would like to see more respect to go towards PE. We have standards, but we do not have a set test. There is no Presidential Physical Fitness test like there used to be. There are no real guidelines explaining the importance of PE. So, for the most part, there is no set test that kids have to do well on in PE. Maybe getting something like that would make the job easier. We have the Ohio standards but there is nothing nationally that they hold us to.”
Ellis said that he will continue to teach health, physical education and weightlifting but he has been attempting to get an advanced PE course. Additionally, he will be teaching CPR and first aid classes next year.
“I am glad to teach the children of the community,” Ellis said. “One thing though I am big on is that it starts at home. We only see them for so long and have a limited influence, but I feel like it starts at home. The way they act here is based on what you are projecting there. A stable home environment provides the children with what they need to come here and do the best they can. It goes hand and hand. We need to work together with the parents to make sure that the kids get the best life opportunities out there.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy