September 7, 2021
There are several new faces in the social studies department for the 2021-2022 school year. Among those is Michael Kouznetsov who recently moved to the Frisco area from Houston, where he studied at the University of Houston, earning a major in History and a minor in Education. Here on campus he’s teaching AP Human Geography and U.S. History.
Wingspan: What are some favorite free time activities for you?
Kouznetsov: “In my free time, I guess everyone watches tv and movies so I do a lot of that. Though, I like to go running in the morning and whenever I have a lot of free time, like during the summer, I like to be in nature and go to the national parks out west. Especially out in Colorado and Utah, just being outside is a great experience.”
The teachers like to talk to each other, we’ll have these games that we’ll play at our staff meetings, as well as the students, just an all around positive atmosphere,”
— social studies teacher Michael Kouznetsov
Wingspan: Do you have any previous experience in teaching?
Kouznetsov: “I was a student teacher the year before I graduated for two semesters. And then I have a year and half of teaching since then. To what extent that counts, given that it was mainly online, is open, but officially, about a year and a half experience.”
Wingspan: Do you have a favorite thing about the school or Frisco ISD so far?
Kouznetsov: “One favorite thing, I’d just say the general positive atmosphere, at least compared to where I was teaching before. I mean it’s just the COVID situation, but it always felt like everyone was down all the time. They would just show up and go in the room, do their thing and leave. Whereas here, the teachers like to talk to each other, we’ll have these games that we’ll play at our staff meetings, as well as the students, just an all around positive atmosphere.”
Wingspan: Is there a major difference between Liberty and the schools you taught before?
Kouznetsov: “Yes. Big difference. Where I taught before, it was an inner-city school and had some problems that were typical for those schools. Students there compared to here were a lot less inclined to be engaged in the class and I had to be a good salesman of just trying to get them to take an interest in things. Whereas, I feel like students here, there are students who are more interested in the topics than others, but for the most part, I don’t have to try to convince them that they need to pay attention, study, and do what they need to do because they’re already on board with that. So I don’t need to worry about that. And like I said before, just a way more positive atmosphere, teachers and students included, and that they’re happy to be here and be productive while here.”
Wingspan: How do you describe the way you teach?
Kouznetsov: “I guess I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I guess I try to keep it as student centered as possible. Where there isn’t much of me talking and students listening, but I try to facilitate a conversation so that students are actively doing something. We do have to take notes in a social studies class, but I try not to be a heavy talker. I ask questions, trying to get more people involved.”
My main goal as a social studies teacher is to give students the skills and ability to understand, contextualize, and constructively engage with the world, ”
Wingspan: Finally, is there a certain way you want your students to remember you as they leave your classroom?
Kouznetsov: “My main goal as a social studies teacher is to give students the skills and ability to understand, contextualize, and constructively engage with the world. I hope that when they leave my classroom, that if they remember me in any way, that I helped them understand the world better, understand why it got this way and how. Give them ideas and tools for how they can affect change in the world. Not just knowing about it and understanding it, but how they can leave the room and do something about it and make a positive difference.”