Mr. Lee, who only goes by Mr. Lee

March 2, 2012
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Does it sound crazy if I said my 10th grade world history teacher bangs his head on his metal file cabinet? Is it insane if his students are allowed to write down whatever they don’t like about him on sticky notes, and post them to his classroom door to be read in front of the whole class? And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of his “out-of-the-box” approach to teaching! Ever hear about paying a teacher for good grades?

Although his methods were unorthodox, he was teaching and his students were learning. While my teacher added to the numerous dents on the cabinet from previous years, I did learn about what happens when emotions get the best of you. That’s why when the crusaders traveled through Jerusalem after their motivational speech from the Pope they killed so many Jews along the way. In addition, I’ll never forget that day when students were writing disrespectful comments and rude suggestions to “put Mr. Lee on blast!” I realized that the King of France also allowed his people to post complaints on the church door, even though he did nothing about them. When thinking about paying for good grades, your first thought might be “this is the best thing I have ever heard of since sliced bread,” but, in the back of your mind, you’re also thinking, “this isn’t right.” This lesson taught me that through unethical practices of papal indulgences, the church had too much power. Likewise, Mr. Lee tried to get away with students paying for grades.

The first three words that usually come to any students mind when someone says Mr. Lee’s name are short, Asian, and bald. That’s just on the surface of course, if a student doesn’t know the real Mr. Lee. When someone may say Mr. Lee to a teacher they might think dedicated, passionate, talkative and inspiring. Now if someone were to ask a student who has already had Mr. Lee as a couch or teacher they would say, very talkative, too tough, really strict, pretty funny, and kind of different. Mr. Lee is known by almost every student and every teacher at Dickinson High school. He’s everywhere and anywhere. They even gave him a ring of keys that can open any door in the entire school. Mr. Lee is a man you can depend on for anything, if a student were to tell him I don’t understand this, he would talk for half of class just trying to get his point across to that individual in a unique way. If a teacher goes to Mr. Lee and asks for something to be delivered somewhere, he does it immediately.

Mr. Lee isn’t your average teacher; For one thing I don’t think he’s ever once sat at his desk while teaching. He’s never even missed a day of school for a personal reason. He is only out when the state tells him he has to go to a workshop or professional development. Even when he’s sick, which is rare, he comes to school. He is so unbelievably dedicated to his students. You don’t find teachers who are the first in the building every morning and the last one out every single day. He’s always available after school for help. Mr. Lee has been working at John Dickinson High School for 17 years, and with every year he grows as a teacher, coach and individual.

Mr. Lee doesn’t just exploit positive and charismatic behaviors in the classroom; he’s been involved with several charities such as Easter seals, Helen F. Graham cancer center, Susan g. Komen for the cure, American Diabetes Association and the B+ foundation. Not only does he go out of his way to give back, but he does the little things that touch hearts as well. After being tested for my 3rd degree black belt, I knew I wanted my friends and family at my evaluation. This included Mr. Lee. The next day at school I gave him an invitation to my promotion and he showed up right on time. That night he really touched my heart, I almost felt like he was watching me as a father figure.

From the classroom to outside of school, Mr. Lee endeavors are endless. He’s an amazing volleyball coach as well. Throughout Mr. Lee’s years at Dickinson he has coached track, cheerleading (but only for an emergency situation) and most importantly Girls and boys volleyball. As one of his volleyball players I can definitely agree with anyone who says that “If he coached all of our sports we would finally have winning teams”

When I first heard about Mr. Lee it was before my freshman year during summer conditioning. I heard scary stories from past players about how tough he was, and heard stories about how much he yells. I figured playing volleyball wouldn’t be fun and games anymore. I was ready to give up before I tried and attempt playing another sport far from Mr. Lee. However, all of my assumptions about him were completely wrong! As a couch, Mr. Lee is by far the one person who will always stand by a player’s side. When all hope is lost he can somehow reach down into an athlete’s heart and give them the strength to keep going, whether it’s running a mile for conditioning or getting 100 serves in a row. Mr. Lee pushes as hard as he believes in us, and trust me he believes more than anyone. Any player can truly trust that what Mr. Lee does has a strong purpose, while he is always trying to improve a player’s ability as an athlete and an individual. He never loses faith in anyone, even after they may have had a terrible play or an entirely awful game. In Mr. Lee’s eyes no one is too bad to play volleyball. He can work with anyone and it’s his goal to do his best.

I’ll never forget my last volleyball game of my 2011 season. We were fighting to get a spot in the championship playoffs, and our team’s fate was weighted on this single game. We were losing by a few points and all of the girls were ready to throw their life onto that court just to save the ball from hitting the ground. The fans were on their toes screaming and jumping with joy. There was adrenaline rushing through every vein in my body. This was it. This was our last chance. After watching points add on to the other teams score, I was beginning to be discouraged, and then I turned to Mr. Lee who was on his feet springing with encouragement. He was cheering us on through every bump, set and spike. I knew we could do this. Unfortunately we lost that game but I was so proud of myself and our team. After the game Mr. Lee called us into a hallway and we all expected the worse, however, there was no screaming and yelling, no telling us what we did wrong, just total silence. I could see tears welling in his eyes, along with most of the girls, but we all stayed strong and held our heads high. Mr. Lee then proceeded to tell us about how proud we made him and how much this team has meant to him. We left that gymnasium with smiles, enthusiasm, and excitement. Inside, we left as winners. Not many coaches have the ability to shine through every athlete and make them a winner, even after losing the biggest game of their life.

Luckily I still get to have Mr. Lee as my volleyball coach for my senior year before I graduate. He has really touched my heart and has helped me grow as a person and especially as a dedicated athlete. Mr. Lee has not also been a great, teacher, and coach but he has kind of become like my second dad. I will always remember Mr. Lee even after the years that follow my graduation.

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