IB Business: Q&A with Sheridan Hirst
Interested in business ever since college, Sheridan Hirst made a mid-career decision and went into teaching. IB Business creates a path to commitment-making, and Hirst is leading with determination. The class creates an atmosphere for students to prepare for the economic world, drawing on market research and practice every day. The Beacon‘s Kate Sacuy spoke to Hirst about the information students need to succeed in her class.
KS: What made you want to teach this class?
SH: I majored in business in college. I made a mid-career change to become a teacher. I became interested in teaching, and now I’m a business teacher.
KS: What is a typical day in your class like?
SH: The majority of the classwork is hands-on. So it’s not me standing up and lecturing, it’s being presented with some sort of task or problem that needs to be creatively solved.
KS: What are some popular activities or projects students enjoy in your class?
SH: Probably one of my favorite things we do is a social media marketing simulation. Students take the role of a brand manager, and it’s an entire computerized program in which they have to optimize posts and drive revenue for a particular brand. And then they compete against each other.
KS: What kinds of work are students expected to do outside of class?
SH: We have a lot of case study work. It’s an IB class, so there’s quite a bit of research, and creating something from scratch. They might be creating a giant research project or working with some sort of local business and interviewing them so they can make a decision and apply our course material to that so they can justify their decision, in order to make change in a company.
KS: What kinds of feedback do you usually get from students about this class?
SH: That they feel like it’s something they would use in the real world and in their life. And that they became better public speakers as a result of it, and more confident.
KS: How do students get a good grade in this class?
SH: Be here every day, ready to learn. Be all in. It is not study and take tests and memorization.
KS: Are there any skills students need to have before joining this class?
SH: The ability to be at school every single day, and be on time. I’m super fussy about that. In the business world, you need to show up and on time. Being able to handle a fast pace and to be a self starter.
KS: What benefits would students obtain from taking this class?
SH: A lot of students that take this class say it helps them make the decision, whether or not they want to major in business in college. So a lot of them get into honors business schools and things like that after taking this class and having it on their resume. And going to the competitions. We compete in DECA. Those are all case study solutions where the students are given a problem that’s happening at a real company, and help them solve that. They learn how to make decisions and be confident with their decisions.
KS: Is there anything you want to let students know about this class?
SH: You shouldn’t take this class if all you want is a grade bump. Take the class if you’re interested, not for the grade bump.