Jada van Soolen
There are plenty of new people at Logan High, and there are many students who seem to know every teacher that works at this school. There’s one teacher who is not as widely known as some but who has been teaching for 14 years and at Logan High for about 2 years, come this summer.
Tracy Nalani Cummins is one of the English teachers at Logan High. She is married with five kids and has six grandchildren. Her husband works in the BATC and runs the furniture business that both of them own while Cummins works at the high school.
"Sit down in my squishy chair. Let's talk."
Cummins was born just north of Seattle with her nine siblings and, as a foster child, moved around the Northwest United States a lot. Cummins attended 28 different high schools before she finally graduated.
As she was figuring out what she wanted to do as a career, she had lots of options running through her mind. She thought about staying in the music industry, being an artist or sculptor, working in music therapy with special ed. kids, being a publisher, or continuing to run her business selling furniture and cabinets, which her husband mainly runs now.
Cummins chose to go to Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington as she was deciding what she was going to do. It was around that time that she discovered she was “a writer by instinct and a teacher by nature.”
She wanted to teach specifically teenagers the things she loved, such as creative writing and English. Cummins then moved to Utah and completed her teaching degree at Weber State University.
Cummins’ first official teaching job was at George Washington High School in Ogden, Utah. There, she had the opportunity to teach US history and US government, as well as English, creative writing, and the newspaper. When she applied and was offered a job at Logan High School, she accepted because she could continue teaching the things she loves and she could teach a larger number of students.
She was "a writer by instinct and a teacher by nature."
There are some students who aren’t big fans of Mrs. Cummins’ teaching style. Some believe, because her classes are so challenging, that she’s just out to get them and let them fail. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Mrs. Cummins teaches the way she does--very strictly and precisely--because, she said, she wants to “help students understand how to work, speak, and sound intelligent, and she knows they are.”
She’s said she’s trying to teach them how to respect others and themselves in a school setting and for their future lives. Students who go up to Mrs. Cummins and say they need help or that they don’t understand how to do any of the work that she had given them prior to that moment, will hear her say, “Sit down in my squishy chair. Let’s talk.”
Cummins said that every student has to take small steps when it comes to learning and that every student is capable of achieving their goals in school.
“How can I help you? What can I do to help you understand what you need to do? What do I need to change so that you can understand how to do the given assignments?” These are a few questions she asks students who go to her for help or advice.
One of her main points of advice before she goes to help someone is that, “learning isn’t easy,” which it is not. Mrs. Cummins wants to continue teaching students because she knows that every student is capable of learning, and she wants every one of them to be successful in life.
So, although her teaching methods aren’t quite what every student may want them to be, Mrs. Cummins cares for every one of her students. Coming said that, all she wants for her students is for them to grow into the fabulous people she knows they can be.
Teacher of the Month
Some food for thought: These people have to deal with rotten, smelly teenagers for nearly seven hours, five days a week. Now, that's commitment. That's why here, we've dedicated a space for students to recognize teachers and their dedication. They deserve it.