Image of Mr. Thrower

Dan Thrower

High School Teacher

Bachelor's Degree, Social Science, Michigan State University; Master's Degree, Educational Technology, Michigan State University 

Dan Thrower considers his first teaching experience to be his student internship in 2006–2007. He joined Great Lakes Learning Academy in 2017, where he teaches social studies and technology to students in grades 9–12. 

Why He Became a Teacher

“As an undergraduate student, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into criminal justice, education, or business,” Mr. Thrower says. “Instead of making a choice, my brother and I decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. This allowed me a wonderful opportunity to see much of the eastern U.S. and reflect on what I wanted to do. I concluded that working in education would allow me the best opportunity to impact the world in a positive way.” 

The Online Experience at Great Lakes Learning Academy

Mr. Thrower is constantly looking for ways to engage students. One of his favorite classroom activities uses a simple PowerPoint that includes students’ educational and career goals. “Learning more about students’ life goals is fascinating ... to see the diversity and personalities of our student body,” he says. “In addition, it allows me to cater content to these interests to help teach or motivate students. 

“Great Lakes Learning Academy is an online institution and therefore should prepare students with a high degree of digital and technical competence, ideal for our modern world, while at the same time teaching them core competencies to prepare [them] for career, college, or civic life.” 

What Parents Thinking of Enrolling Their Child Here Should Know

“The flexibility of online environments is wonderful, but a double-edged sword,” Mr. Thrower explains. “It means that students [and/or their Learning Coaches] need to be self-regulated and self-motivated. Some of the tasks you may not even consider teaching, like attendance or classroom management, fall on the [Learning Coach and/or student] in an online classroom.  

“Our teachers are always willing to help, but students need to take the initiative and be their own advocate in an online learning environment. Like Spiderman said, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’” 

Mr. Thrower’s Personal Interests

“I feel I’m on two ends of a spectrum sometimes. I love [outdoor] activities like hiking, kayaking, camping, soccer, and gardening—and I also love technology and ‘nerding out’ with video and board games, TV and movies, and all kinds of music. Since I recently moved to Colorado, my newest goal is trying to [climb all 58 peaks in the state with elevation above 14,000 feet].” 

 “The most rewarding part of teaching is seeing the growth of students, and especially seeing them achieve their goals.” 

— Mr. Thrower