Designing the future with Ryan Eldred

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Designing the future with Ryan Eldred

Kai Hemingway, Editor

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Ryan Eldred is one of the new additions to BFA this year. Eldred is a committed, curious and patient individual, perfect for a teacher. He is a first year teacher as well. 

Eldred’s job title is design tech teacher. In his classes, Eldred teaches his students the design process, also known as “design thinking”. The design process is a series of steps that engineers use in creating functional products and processes.

Eldred found out about the job from an inside contact, his wife and BFA’s own science teacher, Emily Eldred. Eldred was impressed by the programs and wanted a shot at BFA.

“She told me about the opening and it’s a small department that I came to see, but has such a wide variety of classrooms. I was very impressed with the program and yeah, I wanted to have an opportunity to teach here,” Eldred said. 

Eldred began at the beginning of the year and while it hasn’t been that long, he does have some favorite aspects of the job so far. Those aspects revolve around his surprise towards the students’ abilities. 

“My favorite aspect of the job is when I’m surprised at whether a student is working out a problem, overcoming a problem or mistake, or whether they’ve just mastered a skill. It’s difficult to tell the difference sometimes. I’m pleasantly surprised sometimes when I think the concentrating face is a bad sign; it’s actually not. I like those surprises when I find out that something is different than what I thought at first view of it,” Eldred explained. 

Just like in any career, there are always hiccups and special ways to handle them. Eldred has his own special tactics that he uses to make things run smoothly during his classes.

“I think you have a plan that you make, but you always know that it’s probably not going to go well, so you don’t try to keep with your plan if it’s not working that day. So the tactic I guess would be flexibility and knowing that things might take longer to solve than you think,” Eldred said. 

When compared to his previous job, Eldred claims that the decision making process at BFA is much different. Along with decision making, people’s various roles are also something different from his previous job.

“So my previous job was with a very small family business and the decisions, in a small atmosphere, can happen fairly quickly. Important decisions can happen quickly. I’ve always been interested in how larger organizations, whether it be larger businesses or schools, what happens with decisions and what kind of process there is. I like to know who the people are that can best help you because it’s not always straightforward, you’re not always relying on the same people for everything. So, the differences would be that I have to discover that lots of people have lots of different roles and they’re not always playing every role,” Eldred explained. 

Outside of school Eldred spends his time with his family. He has a wife and two kids, along with a large extended family, which he often spends time with when not in school.

“My wife and I both have families that are large and also local so everyone’s around here and we often visit with them and do a lot of family oriented stuff and just including being outdoors, being on the lake especially. I also have two kids who are interested in music, cross country running and basketball so really my second hand hobby now is watching them,” Eldred said. 

Being a first year teacher can be stressful, though Eldred isn’t letting that get him down. Eldred uses those struggles and turns them into  learning experiences.

“It is a roller coaster. Some of that is being a first year teacher. Other parts are that the design tech department in itself is not a traditional academic background. I’m learning lots of new things every day, lots of problem solving, and lots of trouble shooting,” Eldred said.

Eldred’s greatest strength and greatest weakness go hand in hand.

“For strengths it would be that I try to persist with a problem even if it seems to not be going my way. Weaknesses probably along the same line is that you might stay with a problem for too long after it may be more wise to abandon that and try a new tactic,” Eldred explained.

The Mercury sends a thanks to Eldred and wishes him good luck for his first year. Welcome to BFA!