Dr. Parker: Not Your Average Teacher

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Abby Collins, Staff Writer

Human Geography is the only AP subject that is open to high school freshmen. Signing up for my ninth grade classes at the end of my eighth grade year, I reluctantly selected this course, despite its perplexing description. Honestly, human geography did not spark my interest. I told myself that the first year experience of an AP class would be good for me, and I would merely endure the class. However, I had no idea that the class I initially dreaded would lead me to the teacher that would change my outlook on the world.

Anyone who has had Dr. Parker (formerly known as Ms. Dyer) as their teacher during their high school years would tell you the same thing- that their experience in Dr. Parker’s class was unlike any other; she is a one-in-a-million kind of teacher. According to one of her former students, sophomore Jillian Bates, “Dr. Parker is not an average teacher; she is above average.” To me, this quote is immensely true. Dr. Parker is the embodiment of what it means to live a life of doing what you love to do; the passion sets your soul on fire.

About thirty years ago, Dr. Parker began her pursuit of what she proudly says “[She] was born to do…” She graduated from the University of Georgia and began her teaching career, which brought her to fifth grade, seventh grade, and college classrooms. However, thirteen years ago, Dr. Parker found her place here at Northgate. She felt inspired by an influential teacher from her high school years, so she decided to pursue teaching high school students. “My favorite part is interacting with the students,” Dr. Parker exclaims, and when asked about her love for the subject of human geography, she struggles to find the right words, “I have seen how human geography can change a kid’s life. I have never taught another subject like it.”

As a former student of hers, I can attest to this statement. Dr. Parker overflows with energy as she teaches, which makes the topics she teaches come to life. Her personality is spunky, best represented by the vibrant streaks of color in her hair. Contrary to my expectations, Dr. Parker’s contagious enthusiasm about human geography caused me to enjoy it, just as she did. Sophomore Samantha Olvey agrees, “AP Human Geography may be the best class I have ever taken. Dr. Parker was the best part of it. She took the information and made it not only easy to understand, but interesting to learn about.”

While Dr. Parker is remarkable within Northgate, she is just as incredible outside of the classroom. On a regular basis, she enjoys gardening, reading, exercising, and caring for her beloved pets; in addition, she extends her love for human geography outside of her job. Yearly, Dr. Parker serves as a reader for the national AP exam, and this year, she completed what she says is one of her biggest accomplishments yet – earning her doctorate in education. Three years of long, hard work finally paid off. From the standpoint of her student, she definitely deserves it. Dr. Parker is definitely not your average teacher; she is everything beyond that.