The College of Applied Science and Technology’s “A Day in the Life of a CAST Alum” series is designed to shed some light on how CAST alumni spend their days. Our alumni will tell you that every day is different, and this series aims to peek into an alum’s world.

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences alumna Traci (Pitsick) Kingdon ’14 stayed local after graduating from Illinois State. Kingdon’s teaching career started in Bloomington School District 87, and she now teaches at Normal West High School in the McLean County Unit 5 school district. As a family and consumer sciences teacher, Kingdon instructs roughly 150 high school students daily on topics as diverse as taxes, knife cuts, domestic violence, and food science.

7:45 a.m.–As a high school teacher, my morning routine varies daily but always includes a hot cup of coffee. Typically, you can find me responding to emails, making copies for the week ahead, and setting up tools and ingredients for a culinary arts lab.

8:30 a.m.–First hour begins! Here at West, we live by the motto “Respect 49,” as class periods are 49 minutes long, meaning that every minute counts! On cooking days, students watch a brief demonstration before the kitchen fun begins. As students work either independently or within groups, I monitor progress, field any questions, and anticipate any potential catastrophes (yes, this includes the possible grease fire).

1 p.m.–Four classes down, it’s lunch time. This short 35-minute break often excludes relaxation because it includes switching laundry, restocking supplies, meeting with students, or quickly running to Jewel for a last-minute recipe need.

3:30 p.m.–The music sounds and the halls fill with students eager to get home. We teachers finish grading, prepare for tomorrow, and enjoy a moment of quiet before heading home. Although for me, a trip to the grocery store or the local dairy seems to frequently find their way into my afternoon routine. For example, we recently purchased 21 gallons of whole milk from our local dairy, Ropp Jersey Cheese, for homemade mozzarella cheese as part of our “pizza from scratch” lab. This opportunity offered students a one-of-a-kind, hands-on “farm to table” experience.

“I feel blessed to work in a building of diverse students and motivated colleagues. Building quality relationships and showing each student that I genuinely care are a top priority within my classroom. On any given day, I may also have the following things come up: professional development workshops, parent conferences, IEP/504 meetings, creating new lesson ideas or strategies, meetings with individual students regarding course grade, and the list goes on. Regardless of the Monday lull or the Friday craziness, all of the moments in between with my students are what makes this job truly special!”—Traci Kingdon

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