Sawing Through History

Sawing Through History

Lee’s Summit High School History Teacher Joe Donahay is almost famous for his lecture based classes, with extremely hard tests. But unlike most teachers with this reputation Donahay is one of the most well known and beloved teachers of LSHS. His teaching style is based on college professors, as word got around of his new teaching position, shock was spread throughout all of his current, past students, and anyone who had connected with him. 

¨I think he’s an amazing teacher, he is so good at keeping everyone engaged. He’s funny.Even though he’s like lecturing he just keeps it entertaining all the time.¨ Said Junior Kaylee Conrad.

A teacher keeping an impact like this on their students, in the day in age of cell phones distracting classrooms speaks volumes. 

“The year before last year, after I went on the Youth and Government field trip, we would come back for advisory every week and we would play this board game called Secret Hitler. He’s very approachable, he’s just like a kind teacher. It seems like he genuinely cares more than other teachers.” Donahay’s CA, Senior Caleb Hankins said.

Before this school year, the only LSHS students who had had Donahay as a teacher were Juniors and Seniors who had taken his college credit classes. None expected Donahay’s decision to teach a hands-on class.

“One day last year, we had two teachers from the Industrial Tech Department leave at the end of last year. It’s hard to hire people right now, and there was some concern that, that was going to go unfilled and so one day just as I was leaving, I ran into the industrial technology lead teacher, Mrs. Eberly. And she said ‘Hey,’ I said, ‘How’s it going?’ And she said, ‘Well, you don’t want to teach woodshop next year, do you?’ And I said, ‘I do. But you’re kidding.’ And she goes, ‘ha, ha, ha, no, I really do need somebody but you’re kidding.’,’ No, you’re kidding.’ ‘No, you’re kidding.’ We did that for about 10 minutes. Finally we realize we’re both serious. They needed a couple hours of woodshop covered. I kind of explored it more seriously, then Dr. Harrison approved, so this summer I studied up for and took the certification test and passed.” Said Teacher Joe Donahay. 

There was obvious doubt when a history teacher was to teach a class of the nature of materials and processing. Donahay studied and showed he could be a great teacher despite the dramatic subject change.

“He’s a little bit more serious whenever he’s teaching history. Then whenever he’s in the materials and processing class, he was more lenient with what we did and.” Sophomore Cassidy Young said.

The circumstances surrounding the different classes are extremely different, so for Donahay to teach his students effectively, he learned to stray from his traditional style he uses to teach his history classes.

“I thought it was very old fashioned. He likes teaching books and standing up which I enjoy. I don’t like reading off of computers.”Sophomore Column Mccarthy said.

That doesn’t mean he changed his history classes, as that holds different impacts and lessons.

“I liked the way he teaches it, and how he just lets us do our own thing,  whatever we want to do. We would have to tell him about it, but like as long as we have criteria.” Said Young.

This year Donahay has stretched his teaching ability very far and continued to help his students engage in the class material. 

“He’s very good at making sure everyone’s learning and he gives very difficult tests, but the students always do pretty well on his tests. And I feel like he just has this ability to get students to comprehend these hard subjects.” Hankins said.

Donahay chose to teach materials and processing not only to help his school, but because he was passionate about the subject. 

¨I do woodworking on my own. It’s kind of a passion of mine I’ve done with my grandfather and my uncle and things growing up. It’s kind of being a general handyman but also building things like building small pieces of furniture.” Donahay said.

Teachers who love and care about what they teach are much better at helping their students learn but also care for the subject.

“It’s a totally different teaching style, I am probably the lecture based direct instruction history teacher, it just suits my demeanor, my classes and what I’m trying to do in social studies. It’s the complete opposite in materials and processing. Because it’s all project based, it’s all students looking for help.” Donahay said.

Donahay brings the most important part of teaching to his new classes. Excitement and love for it. 

¨Other teachers are just boring. They don’t really seem like they care about what they’re teaching about. but Mr. Donahay on the other hand, he is enthusiastic. He obviously has a passion for what he’s teaching about.” Said Conrad. 

When students felt cared for by their teachers, they began to care for what their teachers were teaching and had to say overall. Some teachers just walk into a classroom with an online assignment and leave it at that. But Lee’s Summit High School Students are fortunate enough for a teacher like Mr. Donahay to not only learn from. but to form a bond with.


¨I think he’s funny. No one else thinks he’s funny. I think he’s hilarious. But that and his ability to ramble. He really knows what he’s talking about, like more than I think any other teacher and like he’ll go on and on about a subject forever till the point where like, he’ll spend too much time talking about it and then he wastes time.¨  Said Hankins.


No matter which class Donahay teaches, he’ll leave a lasting impression on his students as the quirky loveable teacher who did his best to help them learn.


¨He told us that on the first day. He told us that he was teaching materials and processing and he’d be coming straight there or straight to our class from there. And that’s why he couldn’t wear a suit. He was kind of sad about that.¨ Said Conrad

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