Where Are They Now? Mike Yoder Reflects on the Endicott Experience
Since graduating in 2010, Mike Yoder has accomplished a lot of what he set out to do, and he credits Endicott College for helping him get where he is today. Majoring in teaching for physical education, Yoder has always enjoyed working with kids and currently works at the German School of New York. During his senior year at Endicott, Yoder met his current girlfriend, who has since become his fiancé. He saw his time at Endicott as an “invaluable experience” and enjoyed every minute it. He hopes other students can follow in his footsteps by striving to do something they love and working hard to achieve success.
Graham Mirmina: Where are you residing now?
Mike Yoder: I'm originally from Mahopac, which is kind of on the New York-Connecticut border. I had actually just left in September and am now in White Plains, New York; it's about an hour and 40 minutes north of New York City. I was born in Providence, Rhode Island. My mom lived in central Connecticut, where I was until I was three. I lived in Mahopac my entire life.
GM: What have you been up to since you graduated?
MY: I went to Endicott for teaching, and got my degree in physical education. I applied for jobs, worked a summer job. It was doing construction for a highway department. I did that my entire college career whenever I went home. I substituted; I taught in the fall of 2010 at Mahopac Middle School for about three months and I got a job there as a teaching assistant. I worked with special education kids and helped them out. I did that until 2011 but still couldn't find a job. I couldn't keep being an assistant because the pay was about the same as a substitute. I got really frustrated I couldn't find a teaching job. Especially in this economy, it's really hard to stay in teaching. In March 2012, I got a job [as a teacher] where I'm currently at, called the German School of New York in White Plains, NY. The grades are 5-9 and they're all from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other European countries. Their parents might be here for a few years, [the kids] might be here their whole life to get a degree.
GM: Dating how far back did you know that teaching physical education was what you wanted to do?
MY: I wanted to be a teacher when I was in high school. I had great teachers in high school that said they get vacations, you get to work with kids and stuff like that. I had an economics teacher that explained how much money he made and that it was a cool job. You know you're not going to make $300,000 a year, but what you do know is that you're doing something you love and you're going to live comfortably. I always loved sports and always loved working with kids. I played football, baseball and basketball in high school and basketball at Endicott, too.
GM: What's your experience been like working with kids?
MY: It's been great. Any jobs you have, there will be ups and downs. Every class is going to have knuckleheads. Being involved in special education [there are] students and kids with autism, kids all over the spectrum. Working with them was the most satisfying and rewarding experience that I've ever had to this day. I'm fortunate that I was able to do that.
GM: Any stories regarding any of the kids you taught?
MY: Probably one of the funniest yet also the grossest experiences I've ever had was when I was still at Endicott doing my student teaching. I was teaching at an elementary school in Beverly. It was great and only five minutes down the road. We [the teacher and I] had a kindergarten class. We had a game where the lights go out and everyone hid. We turned the lights back on and there was one kid leaning up against the wall. We went up to him and asked him what was going on and he started to cry. He felt it was necessary to poop on the floor (laughs). The janitor cleaned it up, that wasn't in my job description.
GM: What was your experience like at Endicott?
MY: I loved everything Endicott had to offer. I honestly can't say enough good things about it. It's a small school, the enrollment was around 2,500 when I was there. It's like a really big high school, and that's what I love. I knew, more or less, everybody. I loved going to the Callahan center. I liked going to class and not being in a lecture room. You're getting support; your teachers know you and you build a relationship. You're not just a number. I loved the whole experience, the location, the atmosphere, everything. I lived in Brindle and I got a great freshmen dorm. I miss those experiences.
GM: You met your future fiancé here as well. Talk a little about that.
MY: I knew a lot of kids that had a lot of girlfriends throughout college, and that's fine. I knew some kids that went through college without having a single girlfriend, which is also fine. You shouldn't go through college with any regrets. It wasn't like I wasn't looking for a girlfriend, but I didn't want to be tied down by a relationship. Some people enjoy that. She graduated in the Class of 2012. I went several years without having a serious girlfriend and she played lacrosse at Endicott. I got back from spring break a day early and a majority of campus came back on Sunday. She was already there for lacrosse. I remember getting back on Saturday and seeing her on Saturday night and we hit it off. We hung out more and that was mid-March. I asked her out on April 1st, which was also April Fool's Day. She thought it was some kind of sick joke (laughs). We started dating in the last two months of school and it was great.
GM: What was the most valuable lesson you learned at Endicott?
MY: Being cut from the basketball team and working hard to get back on it, that's something I'm really proud of. As far as academics, senior year of high school is totally different than your freshman year of college. I didn't take academics seriously, but I worked twice as hard to get my grades back up and graduated with a 3.6 GPA. I was really fortunate to go to Endicott, especially since a lot of my best friends I have now and even my fiancé went there, too.