KOKOMO, Ind. – For Josh Fewell, teaching isn’t just his chosen career — it’s his family tradition.
After graduating in December, he accepted his first job teaching fourth graders at Western Intermediate School, Russiaville.
“My mom is a teacher, and two of my brothers went into education. It just felt like a natural fit,” he said. “Once I actually was in the field, it felt like I was where I needed to be.”
Most men in education programs choose middle or high school, he said, but his preference is teaching grades 3 to 5 because the children are young enough to enjoy school.
“They still like school, and they like their teacher,” he said. “I like how inquisitive they are, and how interested they are in learning. They’re fun to be around.”
Family also played a role in choosing special education as a minor.
“One of my brothers was a student in special education, and my mother is a special education teacher,” he said. “It’s close to my heart. What you learn in that minor is good information to have, even teaching general education. A lot of what you learn can be applied to students who aren’t in special education, because it’s just general good teaching practices.”
One of his older brothers is a high school life skills teacher, with another brother serving as an elementary school assistant principal. Fewell plans to earn his administration license at some point to also be a building principal.
His family encouraged him to become a teacher — in particular his mother, who is also an IU Kokomo graduate.
“My mother advised me to develop strong relationships with all students,” he said. “She also said to make sure I am taking time to take care of myself, so I don’t get too overwhelmed or stressed out.”
The connections with students are what he enjoys most about his first teaching job.
“I feel I have a strong ability to build good relationships with them,” he said. “I enjoy hearing what they have to say, how their ballgames or dance recital went, and how their days are. Just seeing their progress is very rewarding, which is why I enjoy it so much.”
Fewell began his college career at a community college in Illinois, where he played baseball. He transferred to IU Kokomo to be on the campus’s first baseball team, and was pleased to be placed at local schools quickly, to gain hands-on experience working alongside elementary teachers.
“That’s a great experience,” he said. “I feel like it prepared me for my own classroom. I appreciated learning from all the great professors, and studying and growing alongside my peers in the School of Education.
He was thankful faculty worked with him to help him stay current with his classes while traveling for baseball during his two seasons on the team.
As a first-year teacher, he’s also an assistant coach for the Western High School varsity baseball team.
“Baseball is definitely my favorite sport, ever since I was little,” he said. “It’s nice to be around the game in a different way, as a coach instead of a player, helping high school students with whatever they need. I was in their shoes just five or six years ago, so I have a fresh perspective on it.”
The team has three athletes who have committed to play at the college level, and they like to talk to him about his experience as a college athlete.
“Whenever they are around someone who played college baseball, they want to ask questions, and talk about college baseball in general,” he said. “It’s rewarding for me to share my experiences with them.”
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.