Setting the bar high

The team qualified for the national tournament and flew to Los Angeles for the big game his senior year. This was it — the last time Jarod Hammel would throw on his Huntington University Foresters baseball uniform. Jarod stood in the outfield ready to catch any fly ball that might come his way, but he couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened earlier — the phone call from his old high school asking him to interview for a teaching opening.

“I got the call while in LA,” Jarod said. “We ended up getting eliminated from the tournament. The team flew back to Fort Wayne, and I got back to my apartment that night at 2 a.m. I put my résume together and went in at 8 a.m.”

His interview at Huntington North High School went well, and the principal offered Jarod, a 2010 mathematics education graduate, the position to teach pre-algebra, algebra and informal geometry during the 2010-2011 school year. The principal also asked Jarod if he would like to coach the baseball team. He accepted the offer and led his team to a 15-0 undefeated season.

“I knew the job was what I wanted,” Jarod said. “The whole process reminded me that someone bigger than me is in control.”

Along with teaching and coaching, Jarod enrolled in Ball State University’s Master in Education Administration program and expects to graduate in 2012.

“My master’s degree will open doors for me to work with students on a different level, but I don’t think I’m going to move to an administrative position right away,” he said. “I enjoy being in the classroom and teaching.”

Jarod learned what it takes to be an effective teacher after watching his professors in the education and math departments at HU. Dr. Paul Worfel taught Jarod about the influence a teacher can have on a student’s life. Jarod observed Worfel’s teaching style and modeled his own methods after watching how hard his education professor worked and cared for his students.

“As a teacher, you must be continually flexible,” Jarod said. “You might come in with an idea for the day, and it could flop. Be confident and don’t be afraid to adjust your game plan. The professors at Huntington taught me how to adapt.”

Jarod used what he learned in the classroom and applied it during his internship experience at Southside High School in Fort Wayne and his time student teaching at Northfield High School in Wabash, Ind.

“By taking a genuine interest in the students who have never received that kind of attention before, they soak up everything you say,” Jarod said. “I want to set the bar high for my students and keep them accountable.”

After having been awarded the Eli Lilly Foundation Scholarship, Jarod came to HU when he realized he would be more than just a number to his professors. There was no way he would fall through the cracks.

“My professors’ doors were always open,” he said. “I appreciated how they were always willing to talk with me about my career goals.”

The relationships he developed with his professors and his teammates impacted his growth spiritually and personally. Jarod found the answers he had been searching for during his time at HU and watched his relationship with God grow stronger.

“My spiritual and personal lives were two different things,” he said. “I realized God wants my heart and how I choose to live knowing that information is what God cares about. Going to chapel and attending small groups is great, but those are like baseball practice. It’s what you do when you step up to the plate that matters the most.”

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