Cycling through the school year


Taylor Hines, Staff Writer

Teacher by day, cyclist by night, Mayo High School’s newest health teacher Jeff Ubinger is always happy to talk about his outside interests. Jeff, or Mr. U as he is referred to by his students, loves to ride his bike, more specifically his road bike. “A couple summers ago I got 1500 Miles riding my bike here in Minnesota,” he says. Cycling takes tremendous effort both physically and mentally, but to be able to reach such a high amount of miles is amazing. “If I was younger I would definitely want to explore becoming a professional cyclist, but I think my time has passed,” he explains why cycling was one of his career choices but not the one he chose. He rides all over Rochester, but his ride from lake city to red wing and back was a big contributor to his 1500 miles. Although he loves road biking, like anything it has its dangers. When riding down 2nd Street by McDonald’s, a lady was pulling in and didn’t see him; he ended up t-boning her going about fifteen miles an hour. There were no serious injuries, just a bent bike, and being a little shook up being his first accident, but it made him more cautious while dealing with others in traffic.

Born and raised in Texas, his move to Minnesota is a new adventure. He was working at a bank in Texas, and his buddy made a joke, saying, “let’s go to a Packers vs. Vikings game.” He remembers that “it was November. I was freezing and cursing; my mind was blown as to why anyone would want to live in such a cold place like this.” So while they were here his wife had gotten an interview here at Mayo clinic, because she had just finished college he thought she would not have any chance at getting this job, so he was not worried but was still supportive.

Mr. U did not start out wanting to be a teacher, and definitely did not start out in a teaching position. Before finishing his college degree he worked in IT at Think Mutual Bank. He enjoyed the job but did not like the same boring 8-5 routine each day. With only a few years left in his degree he finished that but then moved to teaching. “I will fully admit I was making more money than I am now but I wouldn’t trade teaching for the world,” he states while talking about his love of teaching. He loves the interaction with his colleagues, and especially with his students helping them learn. His teaching style has developed throughout his own learning period, but also stems from a teacher he looked up to. He liked that his teaching style more than just a normal, plain teaching style. His high school history teacher made teaching fun, but also he answered and analysed questions even when they were off topic. He wants students to really understand why the answer is what it is, or why something works a certain way, he wants students to feel engaged. If they have questions he would rather talk about it and make it something they want to know, rather than force them to learn something he wants them to know. Although teaching was not Mr. U’s first career choice, it is the career he loves.