Teacher Feature: Mr. Chad Turner

Taryn Turchi

The Saint Joseph High School Social Studies Department has gained a new teacher for this semester. Mr. Turner came to Saint Joe in January to teach AP US History. He has a wife and two dachshunds, and he moved here from Big Rapids, Michigan. 

Mr. Turner has had extensive teaching experience, but this is his first year teaching at the secondary level. He has previously taught at the college level for 15 years. Mr. Turner most recently taught a humanities course at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan for four years. Before that, he taught a history course at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana. He also taught a history course at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Mr. Turner’s favorite part of history to teach is the Middle Ages.  “I think it such a fascinating time that still holds so much relevance for us today, but students often don’t realize it.”

Mr. Turner has had an extensive education as well. He went to Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee for an undergraduate degree in theology. Then, he went on to get a master’s degree in theology at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Following that, Mr. Turner went to the University of Leeds in Leeds, England for an M.A. in medieval studies. Finally, he went to the City University of New York Graduate Center in New York City to get a Ph.D. in history.

When asked about how his experience at Saint Joe has been so far, Mr. Turner replied, “My colleagues have all been very welcoming and supportive.

The students are great; the students in my classes ask very engaging questions and make great points about history.

— Chad Turner

They make it very easy to do my job!” He looks forward to finishing the semester strong and helping his AP students ace their exams in May.

Mr. Turner gave some helpful advice to juniors and seniors who are going to college. His biggest piece of advice was to start developing independent study skills sooner rather than later. “A big difference between college and high school is that college professors tend to hold your hand a lot less, so developing independent skills is really helpful.” College professors are less likely to follow up with you, so make sure you practice taking initiative now so you are prepared later.

Mr. Turner’s favorite part about teaching is seeing the students click with the material. Those “light bulb” moments where a student suddenly grasps something they didn’t grasp before is, in his opinion, the most satisfying part about being a teacher. “I feel like we are educating students to be good citizens, and so I take that responsibility seriously and love it when students begin to see the importance of history and how it helps shape the world we live in now.”

Like all other teachers, Mr. Turner has a life outside of teaching. He enjoys playing video games and watching reality tv shows with his wife. He also enjoys playing golf and playing with his two dachshunds. Thanks for choosing Saint Joe, Mr. Turner!