Mr. Matthew Dayka grew up reading books from his family library and often discussed them at the dinner table each night. His grandmother’s love for books trickled down to the generations thereafter and the whole Dayka family followed suit. He pursued his love for English and earned a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the California University of Pennsylvania.
After moving out-of-state for a number of years and working in an entirely different industry, Mr. Dayka returned to Pennsylvania to obtain a Master’s degree so that he could teach.
“I realized that I didn’t like what I was doing, so I came home to pursue teaching,” he said.
His mother was a Home Economics teacher and her love for her job piqued Mr. Dayka’s interest in becoming a teacher himself.
“I could tell that she got a lot of satisfaction from teaching when she came home from school every day,” he explained. “It seemed like a pretty cool job.”
He went on to earn his Master’s in Education - Secondary Education degree from the California University of Pennsylvania and became certified to teach 7-12 grades.
“The combination of my love for literature and writing with my interest in teaching naturally led to a career teaching English and Language Arts,” he said. “Being able to express my love to the students through writing and teaching means a lot.”
Now in his 5th year of teaching English at PA Distance, Mr. Dayka teaches a variety of English-based courses including General English to 9th and 10th-graders, and two English electives to 10th-graders: Communications and Cultural and Literary Studies.
In General English, Mr. Dayka teaches big ideas and big concepts that are covered within the PA English Standards. For example, his General English course helps students improve their communication and critical thinking skills as they grow into effective readers, writers, communicators, and life-long learners.
“I love it when my student finally understands a concept. That moment when the light bulb goes on in their brain really drives me,” he said. “That is the best feeling ever and makes me want to come back day after day.”
Mr. Dayka also co-teaches Cultural and Literary Studies with PA Distance Social Studies teacher, Mr. Mysels. Mr. Mysels teaches the social studies portion of a particular region and Mr. Dayka showcases authors and literature from the same part of the world.
“We connect world geography with literature in one course,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and helps with our student’s understanding of the material and where the authors come from.”
Lastly, Mr. Dayka teaches a Communications course where his students learn how to communicate effectively in a broad range of ways. He teaches students the art of public and persuasive communication whether it’s through public speaking or in written mediums.
“I really enjoy getting into deep conversations about literature with my high school students,” he said. “More so than literary analysis.”
Mr. Dayka maintains that reading and writing skills carry over to a variety of jobs and industries and likes to highlight that within his classes.
“I’ve had a variety of jobs and experiences before my teaching career and in every single one those skills carried over in one way or another,” he noted. “To be able to impart those concepts and ideas to the students is a reason I wanted to be an English teacher.”
After having a variety of other jobs and experiences, Mr. Dayka appreciates his time at PA Distance.
“I love the collaboration at PA Distance and having the opportunity to work together across grade levels,” he said. “Communication is always open and there’s a really great sense of community.”