We Are Crew, Not Passengers!

Joseph Rankin

Contact E-Mail
About Me

What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

Pursuing a career in education was an easy choice for me. I knew that I wanted to study and discuss complicated issues in our society and in our world. I also knew that I wanted to spend my time with young people, because from an early age I understood that adults are generally not to be trusted. I also knew that I wanted time to travel, have adventures, and spend time with my family. Teaching fits all these requirements--and I'm so happy that I chose the field, and lucky that I ended up at Polaris! 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

The most rewarding part of my job is helping students overcome both academic and personal obstacles. I love helping students master difficult concepts and assisting them in articulating their nuanced ideas. And nothing is better than catching-up with a former student and seeing how the skills we cultivated in class are bearing fruit in the 'real world.'  

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

I have worked in public schools since I was 19 years old. My first job was at the Cordley Elementary School after school program in Lawrence, Kansas - in 2001. At the time I was working on my degree in Secondary Social Studies Education at the University of Kansas, which I obtained in 2005. Since then I've had a wide variety of teaching jobs - everything from teaching elementary school children with Autism, at a juvenile detention center, a language academy in southern Mexico, a junior high School in Wyoming, and a high school on the western slope of Colorado. After earning my Master of Arts in history at Colorado State University in 2013, I started teaching social studies and English classes at Polaris.


When I'm not teaching I love spending time with my family and getting wild in the great outdoors. I enjoy hiking, riding my bike, rafting, camping, skiing, planning my upcoming adventures, looking at the stars, and reading. 

Thought Provoking Quote: 

"Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter."  --From Bertrand Russell's "10 Commandments for Teaching"

"You might not think there's poop in there, but there is." --From my sister-in-law, Maggie, when she was six years old, regarding a new green house on her family's farm (but which could be applied to nearly anything).  

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." --From the Water Rat in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows 

My Classroom

Courses Taught: 

At Polaris I have taught English 9, World Literature, World History, Russian History, Government, Economics, History of Rock and Roll, College-Prep Reading and Writing, Debate, Current World Affairs, and Crew.

At other schools I have taught US History, Comparative World Governments, and US-Mexico Borderlands History.

About My Classroom: 

In my classroom we explore important ideas, events, processes, and people that have made the world that we live in today. I strive to always treat students with respect while holding them to high standards. We learn to articulate our ideas about complicated topics, and to treat everyone--especially those with whom we disagree--with civility and respect. 

PSD does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran status, age or disability in access or admission to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. A lack of English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation.