Educator of the Year 2011 This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 4, 2011
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My name is Tyler. I would like to introduce you to my nominee for Teacher of the Year 2011. My teacher, Mr. Russell Osbourn, teaches computer maintenance at the high school level. When I entered my sophomore year at Cleburne High School, I had ideal what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. Mr. Osbourn was instrumental in providing my life direction and the desire to pursue a career in computer science and gaming.

Mr. Osbourn is a very genuine man. He is honest, hard-working, supportive and patient. All of these qualities are necessary when dealing with high school students who have no direction and often times no motivation to be the best they can be. I am a very shy person who often has difficulties expressing my appreciation to those who have helped me along in my life's ultimate journey.

When I took my first computer maintenance course as a sophomore, I was really unsure what to expect from the class. I instantly found a teacher who was very hands on and helpful as we acquired new skills. One of my first independent assignments was to clean out the closet in his classroom which contained all of the cords and cables for various computer networking and maintenance jobs. So, being the obsessively neat person that I am, I folded all of the cords and zip tied them as well as sorting them into categories according to their uses. Mr. Osbourn looked at my finished work and stated, “Tyler, this is excellent. I do not think this closet has been this clean since the day I started or even possibly ever.” I felt good about this compliment as anyone would. However, later in the day, I realized this success could be a potential problem. I went home and told my mother what he had praised me for. She was elated and said that it was great that I did such a wonderful job. I looked at her a bit quizzical and said, “Mom, you don't understand. He said it was the best he had ever seen.” Stunned my mom was at a loss for words as she could not understand how that could be a problem for me. I could not understand how she could not understand. She is a teacher herself and knows how this works. I said, “Mom, this could be horrible because I could be the proclaimed closet cleaner, and I certainly do not want that. I want to do other things, not organize the entire school's closets.” Mom laughed quite a bit and assured me she did not feel this would become a problem. She was right, but I was worried.

I am now in my third year of his class. I have acquired so many skills with regards to computer maintenance and installation of various hardware devices for our school district as a whole. It has opened doors for me to attend Angelo State University this Fall studying computer science and gaming. My experience with Mr. Osbourn also will allow me to be in the running for some of the top student aide positions in the computer science department based on my high level of skills. He gave me direction and encouragement by just being himself and doing his job.

Mr. Osbourn deserves to be Teacher of the Year as his efforts are endless and his time is always available to his students. He offers such a high level of emotional and technical support that goes above and beyond his job description. He is the greatest example of a man. These strong qualities of his character spill over into his teaching. This will be his last year at Cleburne High School, and it will also be mine. I feel so lucky to have had a teacher who taught from his heart and offered endless hours of learning experiences that will benefit each and every student he has taught. I am sad to see him retire because I know what others will miss out on. I am not certain he can ever fully retire as he is a man of motion. He is hard-working and dedicated which I think will begin a new adventure in his life rather than retirement.

I doubt he even knows the depths of his impact on the lives of his students. He is a humble man and would never take credit for their success. We, as his students, know that he is irreplaceable as a role model and teacher for us. I wish him the best on his new journey just as I begin my own. I will never forget who opened the doors of opportunity for me when I was a lost student searching for direction. He was my compass. We all need someone to keep us headed in the right direction.

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