Dr. Peter Schneller
Teaching Area(s): Education
Title: Professor of Education
Courses Taught: Middle Childhood Education
Teaching as a Profession
Teaching chose me. During my undergrad years, I was a camp counselor at Red Arrow Camp in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Actually, Chris Farley was a camper in my cabin for about two summers. Can you imagine going canoeing with a young Chris Farley? When I graduated from college I didn’t have a teaching certificate; in fact, my first job was in sales. It appeared that I would be good at sales, but I was encouraged to oversell to my customers—to me, this was dishonest. I couldn’t live with myself and do what I was told, so I quit and started working a general labor job. After a while of working with molten steel, I decided to pursue another career and went back to school to get a second degree in education. Now I don’t feel dishonest in my job and only lie to my students when I play devil’s advocate.
Receiving the Great Teacher Award at Mount Union was quite humbling. There are so many of my colleagues at Mount Union who deserve this award. I felt quite blessed to be chosen, but I think that I feel proudest when former students come back and share stories with me about how they’ve made a difference in children’s lives—that’s a big, BIG deal.
I try to keep things as interactive as possible and be as humane as possible. I tell stories of my successes and failures in teaching and try to show them that our failures are probably our greatest learning experiences. Jokes (at least they’re funny to me), lateral thinking puzzles, dance cards, etc. are ways that I try to mix it up.
My most recent research project involved global mindset and a four-month trip that took me to India, Singapore, Japan and South Africa where I interviewed over 100 students about cosmopolitanism. This research has added to my expertise regarding international comparisons of educational systems. Believe me when I tell you that students around the world can be just as engaging as they are right here at Mount Union.
Best Part of the Job
No doubt about it, it’s the TEACHING. My students are the best.
My favorite building is Chapman Hall because of the ghosts! I plan on doing some haunting eventually.
Atmosphere and Traditions
Mount Union is unique in its amiable atmosphere and unique traditions.
Cosmopolitanism, creativity and cognition
B.A., English and Speech, Wittenberg University
B.S., Elementary Education, Kent State University
M.S., Reading Specialist, University of Akron
Ph.D., Teacher Education, University of Idaho
I tell stories of my successes and failures in teaching and try to show them that our failures are probably our greatest learning experiences.
- If You Could Teach Another Class
- I’d say a class in creativity or creative problem solving. Einstein said that “imagination is more important than knowledge,” and I believe it. Creativity is as important as literacy.
- Favorite Quote or Motto
- “Four out of every three people struggle with math.”
- Surprising Fact About Yourself
- I grew up in Alliance, so I’m a townie. Stereotyping people as townies is usually offensive to me, but here I am doing it.
- If You Weren’t a Professor
- I’d be a disc jockey.
- Places to Visit or Things to Do
- I want to go to South America—especially Brazil.
- Favorite Movie
- Cool Hand Luke
- Favorite Book
- Too many to pick just one! My most recent favorite is A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, but I’m reading one now called Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman.
- Hobbies and Interests
- I swim and have a red fox Labrador puppy. He’s training me well. Also, my grandkids keep me occupied and hip to the latest slang.