A Teacher Free to Reign This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“The history of the world is the record of a man in quest of his daily bread and butter.”- Hedrick van Loon. I know a man, who I consider to be a close friend, who lives a life of history, and is also an everlasting generation of encyclopedias; this man’s name is Phil Giessen. He’s a poised, middle-aged man, young at heart, with a nutty desire for the young to learn and stay hard at work. A unique, fun, and abundant way of learning is in store for anyone who walks through his doors and listens.

To me, he wasn’t the type of teacher who went by the book—he simply was the book. He created an atmosphere free of learning, without the tug of a book binding; it made me feel like there weren’t any boundaries to obtain as much history and life he threw at me.

I wanted to become something or someone great like Napoleon, or Martin Luther King, Jr. who changed history after I left his class room. Every day in middle school, I would go home and rant to my parents about what I learned. It would be something they would have heard about, but not in the depth that I was taught. I had an imagination that came alive, when explaining to my parents the way Mr. Giessen would, with his eyes wide with expressions like one of a kid opening a treasure chest. He would always keep our attention by using words and comparisons to life that.

The thing about Mr. Giessen is, he knew and held us to a high level of education than what the curriculum had set seventh and eighth graders. To this day, I still appreciate him for that because he is the only teacher who believed I was—or could be—smarter than my age. When I went to high school, I knew everything that was being taught. In a way, Mr. Giessen prepared me for my future.

He showed me how to think at a higher level of learning, which helped me in other aspects of life besides academics. He’s taught me to never settle for less, whether it’s life at home, school, or sports. He is the foundation of my hunger to thrive to learn; he is Mr. Giessen.





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