Meet Ms. McDermott!


NSL Teacher Ms. McDermott

Marwa Barakat, Editor-In-Chief

Every month, the JagWire highlights one staff member chosen by the students. Where are they from? Why did they choose their career? What are their interests? This month, the focus is on AP United States Government and Politics (NSL) teacher Ms. McDermott!

McDermott grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, in New Jersey, with her family. She moved to Maryland to attend the University of Maryland. She loved the area so much that she chose to stay and has been living here since 2010. 

At UMD, she studied social studies because it was always her favorite subject, but she was unsure what her career path would be. McDermott says she “wanted to be in a field where [she] could do something with history or civics every day.” 

After finishing graduate school, McDermott took a year off. She interned at Walt Disney World just for fun in Orlando, Florida. 

When she started working, she began as a long-term substitute at Northwest after she had done student teaching throughout college. While she was substituting, there was a teacher opening available, so she did an interview and got her first real job. 

Along with NSL, McDermott began teaching human behavior in the alternative resource class this year. Even though NSL is her pride and joy, she enjoys teaching this class as well. She says, “it’s a new challenge.” She is also a sponsor for the Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society and the Super Smash Bros. Club. 

McDermott enjoys her job because she gets to teach her favorite subject. She also loves teaching at a high school because she says “I love working with teenagers.” She explains that they are more interactive, easier to communicate with, and more relatable. She finds that students can go to her for advice because she has experienced similar situations, and it means she can teach them more than just the course’s content. Junior Kaitlyn McGurgan confirms this. “She is a chill teacher, and she helped me prepare for the AP exam,” says McGurgan. 

While teachers educate their students about course material, they can also learn from their students. Throughout McDermott’s career, she has learned that students are all different with their own learning methods that she might not have ever used before. Her job has taught her to be more patient in helping her students with their own preferences. Every year, she changes her teaching style because her main goal is to help her students succeed and “not be one of the roadblocks” in their way. 

Although teaching is an “all-life consuming” job, and her students are on her mind all the time, McDermott limits herself to one or two hours of work at home. She wants to make sure she has time to spend for herself. When she does have free time, she likes to watch movies, go to the gym, and read. She enjoys literature, and her favorite author is Jane Austen. Because of her love for literature, she almost became an English teacher instead of a social studies teacher. However, her love for history and social studies is prevalent in her outside life as well. Over the weekends, McDermott volunteers at the National Archives where she gives tours and works in the museum. 

While teaching can have its challenges, such as balancing life and different styles of learning, McDermott says she’s “not going anywhere anytime soon.”