photo by PhotoTexas

Joe Green has been a student-favorite ever since he arrived in Dripping Springs in 2014. He started at the high school as a freshman English teacher and quickly fit into the growing community. Green was able to engage the students through his interactive lesson plans and his passion for the subject shined through every day. In fact, that passion was one of his main motivations behind becoming a teacher.

“I really fell in love with literature and English and I wanted to create a safe space for students,” Green said. “I wanted my classroom to be a place for ideas and creative outlets to be expressed, and when I became a teacher, I really tried to implement that idea. I needed my students to see that English could be this amazing escape during school even if they didn’t quite understand it.”

Green was no rookie to teaching and his previous experience had him prepared to adapt quickly to the new environment. He learned quickly that Dripping Springs was not quite the same in its value as other schools he had worked at.

“I taught for 11 years… in California, Florida, and Texas… I think this school is definitely my favorite because there is so much room for creative teaching, and I know when I worked at other schools I would always get in a little trouble because I wanted to deviate from the norm and that wasn’t allowed like it is here,” Green said. “I’m really happy that teachers are able to kind of create their own style and experiment with different methods. I think it really brings a great element to the quality of learning here.”

After only a year of teaching in Dripping Springs, Green became an assistant principal. While many students were disappointed that he would no longer be teaching English I, they understood that he was more than qualified for the new job and were excited to see what kind of changes he would bring as a member of our school’s leadership. Even though he knew things would be different, Green was still shocked by the information he learned in his new role.

“It’s interesting because as a teacher, you only really see the side students show in the classroom. I tried to spend a lot of time out of the classroom but still there’s just so much you don’t really see as a teacher, and there are crazy things happening, and there’s just no way to know,” Green. “Now it’s like I see everything, and it’s really surprising to look at all the behind the scenes and realize just how much you guys have going on outside of school and in school.”

While he does enjoy being an assistant principal, it’s nowhere near a cake-walk. Green mentioned that he struggled with staying within the boundaries of his job and branching out into his own methods.

“My biggest challenge is probably finding ways to be creative with discipline and planning,” Geren said. “There are a lot of policies that we have to follow so it can get really difficult to find ways to stick with those and be creative in the way we execute them.”

As an assistant principal, Green works daily to try to improve the lives of everyone in the Dripping Springs community, most importantly the students. He genuinely appreciates student input and respects that while it is difficult to get everyone’s opinion on everything, he would like to try as hard as possible to make the high school a happy and safe place.

“I’d like to see more student involvement in bigger decisions, like letting them come to panels and meetings so we can get more of their opinion on things,” Green said. “I know we have some of that but I definitely think we could always be more effective in the way we use your input. Also, I think that the competition and environment here can be stressful for students especially now with finals coming up. I want to put more emphasis on mental health and balance because I think students can really get lost in all the school work and extracurriculars and family that they forget to take time for themselves.”

When asked if he would ever return to teaching, Green responded that though he loved being an AP he missed the family built only in a classroom.

“I miss teaching every day, the close interaction with students is really cool and to watch you guys grow and improve throughout the year is incredible,” Green. “I wish every staff member here had the opportunity to teach a class on top of what they already do, counselors, assistant principals. I mean most of us have been teachers and I know that I really miss that experience and that connection with you guys.”

Written by Clara Comparan