Face to the Education


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With the power to break us down or build us up, to encourage or discourage, or to change the outcome of a day at school, teachers are the face that we put to our education. This, indeed, is a very heavy weight to carry on one’s shoulders, and all teachers do their best to positively influence our lives while forming our minds.

Anybody who’s had an incredible or an awful teacher before, knows that the attitude of a teacher rubs off on the students as well. Several Air Academy students and staff were asked about the influence in their life from different teachers, or how they as a teacher have influenced their students.

Gabe Beal, an Air Academy sophomore, was asked questions about his best and worst experiences with teachers. When asked if there was ever a teacher that changed his outlook on high school, he answered, “Mr. Carter helped me stay relaxed and keep the things that were important about high school in perspective.” Teachers at Air Academy, such as Mr. Carter, do an amazing job of relaxing students and making sure that they have a comfortable environment in which to learn. As reported by other students, “Mr. Carter uses humor in order to connect with his students.” When asked about any important moral lessons that Mr. Carter had taught Gabe, he answered, “He always stressed on the importance of going to college, and it made me more driven on the idea of receiving a higher education.”

Other students, such as Ross Schafer, have experienced a harder time in class at certain points in their high school career. When asked if teachers had ever influenced him in a negative way, Ross replied,“I really hated my sophomore year.” However, Ross did not let the difficulty of some bad student-teacher relationships get in the way. “I ended up making the best of it, and that was the best year for the subject I was struggling in that I’ve ever had.”

Most Air Academy students stated that having a teacher that they don’t necessarily get along with causes them to be less motivated for the class. No one wants to work hard for a person that they don’t particularly care for. “A good teacher pushes you to work harder than you thought you could, and to learn new things that you could have only imagined,” said Ethan Powell, AAHS senior. However, a bad teacher can cause you to lose motivation for a class. “I had a deep love for a certain subject going into my sophomore year, but after a year of having to deal with the teacher of that subject, I just want to forget that that class even exists,” Junior Whitney Moran recollected.

At Air Academy, however, the problem of harsh teachers is a scarce one. Every student had a long list of teachers that impacted their lives in a very intensely positive way. When asked, these teachers had a lot to say about what it meant to be a meaningful educator.

Mr. Clark, an Air Academy history teacher and football and basketball coach, is well known for his ability to turn history into an interactive and relatable experience for his students. “I love talking to them and joking around and talking about things other than school. I like to go to their extracurricular events and cheer them and talk to them about their other classes.” Mr. Clark goes above and beyond in supporting his students in everything that they’re interested in, but he always does an incredible job of relating to his students too. “I think I relate to them because I’m able to connect the past to what they’re going through today.” With this support, it can easily be said that Mr. Clark truly kills it in the education game.

Another influential figure in our school is Mr. Duran or “Doug” to those at AAHS. Doug is the computer lab teacher, and although he might not have his own class that he runs, he teaches the students of Air Academy everyday. If you pop your head into Doug’s lab during lunch, you’ll find many happy students squeezed into the room, enjoying their food and their time in their favorite location in the school. Each of these students have a personal connection with Doug, because he has given them a safe place in their busy lives to come and let loose. How does he do it? Asking questions and playing chess. “You can learn a lot by listening and asking questions. The kids just need to know their is someone here that understands and cares and will always want to listen to what they have to say.” Doug’s favorite way to strike up a conversation is over a game of chess. “A kid named Zach moved here his senior year, and had a goof in his schedule, so they assigned him to me as a TA. For the first month he sat all the way across the room from me and didn’t talk, just worked on homework. One day he came in and saw the chess board on my desk and asked if I wanted to play. I didn’t know how, but Zach taught me how and for the rest of the semester we grew closer over many games of chess.” Now, every “Doug Rat” (the kids who spend time in Doug’s lab) has the goal of beating Doug in chess. Some of these kids become so close with Doug, that he’s even capped them at senior breakfast.

At Air Academy, we are very fortunate to have some incredible teachers to help us along the road of high school. Teachers are among the most influential members of our society, and deserve so much praise and recognition for the way they help shape us into the people we are.