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A teacher in the moonlight

Woodbury Middle School science teacher Nick George has taken on a second profession as a real estate agent and it has not only become a new passion but it has also impacted his skills as a teacher. (Staff photo by Amber Kispert-Smith)

Editor’s note: This is part of a periodic series chronicling how teachers spend their summers.

For some teachers summer is a chance to travel while others use it as a chance to spend time with family.

Woodbury Middle School science teacher Nick George sees summer as an opportunity to take on a new trade.

George decided to earn his real estate license back in March as a way to earn some extra cash and stay busy during the summer.

“I’m really excited about taking the same drive, passion and focus that I use in teaching and turn that into a career in real estate,” he said. “For the same reason that I enjoy teaching, you can have quite an impact on people’s lives.”

George, an agent for Twin Cities Real Estate, has sold a total of seven houses to date.

George bought his first house in Oakdale last year, which ultimately attracted him to a career in real estate.

“I was so intrigued by the process and what went into it,” he said. “It’s not just price, it’s terms and what kind of loan.”

George went through an eight-week real estate course at Kaplan University that met on weekends.

However, George almost didn’t make it through the first day of class.

“It was like drinking from a fire hose,” he said. “I was overwhelmed with information.”

Ultimately, George decided to stick it out.

“I think I learned that I was very naïve about what it means to be a Realtor,” he said. “If you don’t know this stuff, you’re going to screw someone’s life over potentially because there is no bigger investment that they’ll ever make.

“I gained a much needed appreciation for what it means to be a Realtor.”

George said his experience with the real estate class not only taught him the ins and outs of being an agent, but it also taught him how to be a better teacher.

“I learned so much about real estate, but I learned so much more about being a teacher,” he said. “I get what it’s like to be a student again. For the first time in many years I had a slap of reality of what it’s like to be them.”

For George, the biggest thing that has affected his teaching is the need for study guides and practice tests, because during his real estate classes he said he found he did better on the practice questions on the sections where he had information to write down.

“It hit me with full force how important it is to have that,” he said.

So George has dedicated himself to having study guides in his students’ hands on the first day of class.

“I swear I think I’ve been the best teacher I’ve ever been,” he said, “and I swear it was because of going back to school.”

George said becoming a real estate agent has proven to be a great decision for him and he hopes to continue with it.

“You feel this incredible sense of responsibility to people,” he said. “It was an impact that I hadn’t expected.”

However, George wants to make no mistake that teaching comes first, which is why he intends to take on the bulk of his clients during the summer.

“I care too much about my teaching career to slight that in any way,” he said. “My clients know right when I meet them that I’m not going to be available during the day. But, I never thought I would like something as much as I like teaching.”

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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