Teacher Appreciation

March 1, 2012
By Jonathan Harsh BRONZE, Wales, Wisconsin
Jonathan Harsh BRONZE, Wales, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Nominating Michael Williamson

Usually, when you think of economics, you’d imagine piles and piles of information, long hours of studying stuff you don’t understand, and trying to stay awake during class. Heck, that’s what I thought during my first economics class. I think every kid in the class was thinking the same way.
But as soon as our teacher walked into the room, piles of paperwork, notes, folders and books in his arms, I expected the worst. But he slammed the papers on his desk and proclaimed to the class, “Whoever came to this class expecting a long and difficult course involving reading from plain ‘ole boring books and plain ‘ole boring slideshows, please get out of the room. Your high IQs are making me look bad.” Everyone laughed, and nobody left the room (I knew it was a joke, even though some didn’t though). Over the next semester, it was quickly apparent that Mr. Williamson was unlike any teacher I’ve had.

This is the simple fact about Williamson: he acted like a kid. It was like being taught by a sophomore who was learning along with his. One time, we were looking at supply and demand graphs drawn on the whiteboard, he looked at us and said, “I don’t know about you, but this makes no sense to me. Please tell me you guys know.” Everyone answered. And they had the correct answer. “Exactly, just like I told you, so A’s for everyone!” No one got A’s for that, but the way he taught us was unique and not the same old method of learning.
He used a sense of humor that was a lot like ours. There was never a time when he didn’t crack a joke about the topic we were learning. It kept us engaged, awake, and best of all, we were laughing our butts off every day.
He also had a weird, but cool, way of connecting to each student. We played a game at the beginning of the semester to learn everyone’s names. He kept forgetting our names, but he remembered facts about us. So instead of saying “Jon,” “Nick,” or “Eva,” he would say, “tennis guy,” or “red lipstick girl,” or “long haired person.” And then, within a few weeks, he knew us all personally.
And when he was serious about teaching, he would offer help to anyone who needed it. He gave such positive feedback and helped us out without sacrificing our learning. It was a class I was always looking forward, wondering what we would learn that day. I actually loved learning about economics. And I finished the class with an A.

But now that I await graduation, the end of my high school career and the beginning of my new life, I often look back at the teachers who impacted and changed my life for the better. And Mr. Williamson is—without out a doubt—one of them. This is not because of the subject he taught, but of what he taught us about ourselves.

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