Students: Good luck on Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament Mr. Montie!
What made you choose a career in teaching?
You know, to be honest, I didn't really think I would like it that much, at first. You know, I did it because I liked history a lot, and that was really one of the only things that you could do with a history degree, besides maybe work at a museum or something, and y'know, I-I went in and did my student teaching, I did some placements, and that's when it really clicked for me. I loved working with the kids, and seeing their crazy creative ideas, and getting 'em to know a little bit more about how the country works, and, y'know, where we've been and where we're going.
How did you prepare to be on Jeopardy!?
How I prepared? It's something a lot of people ask. "Are you studying?" "Are you doing this?" And I said, "When do I have time for that?", you know? Working--working at a school, there's lots of stuff you have to do after school, and then you get home grading essays Let's go.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge on the show?
Ooh, biggest challenge? Uh, I'm a little worried about just blanking completely. And just going, "I don't remember who the first president of the United States is." Or saying, y'know, something wild, like "Detroit's the capital of Michigan", when I live in Michigan and that would be really embarrassing, and all my students are going to be watching. So I'm hoping that everything will work out just fine and I won't be nervous anything, so... I'm not too worried, though.
How does it feel to be a semifinalist in the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament?
It's really just completely surprising. I mean, the game goes by so quickly. I can't--and, y'know, the other contestants were so good, and I can't really believe that I made it through. Just some luck Daily Doubles, I guess.
How did you become a Jeopardy! contestant?
Oh well, it was, uh--I actually did the--the audition process was on May the fourth, which is Star Wars Day--"May the fourth be with you"--so I guess the--maybe the force was with me on this one. But, uh, and then, y'know, flying in, and it's been crazy the first few weeks of school, so I haven't had really much time to study or prepare any. And the kids have been asking a lot of questions. "When are you going to be on?", y'know. "Are you really going to be on Jeopardy!? I don't believe you. You don't seem as excited as you should be." I'm like, "No, I really am. Look, I got the form right here." So, it's been--it's been a little crazy. Very surreal.
What do you hope your students will learn from watching you on Jeopardy!?
[Chuckles] That all that useless knowledge that they say I'm cramming into their brains is not completely useless and that someday it'll come in handy on a show like this or in the rest of their lives, so... I hope they take something positive out of it, that learning can still be fun, no matter how old you are.
What was the best part of your experience on Jeopardy!?
I think being able to, uh, hang out with all these teachers that, y'know, love trivia like me, and have tried it out, and just talking about our different teaching experiences back in the back room has been a lot of fun.