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I was an enemy in territory I did not want to be in. When I first walked into the classroom I was surrounded by an onslaught of red and white. “Oh joy, a Phillies fan…” I muttered to myself as I walked in. I, being a Yankees fan, was fully expecting to be mortal enemies with my new social studies teacher, Mr. Wood. I would happen to be wrong about that particular topic.

During my whole 7th grade year, the thing I remember most was a period of a couple months in Social Studies, Mr. Wood’s class. During the second marking period, the subject was Japan. So, Mr. Wood had a brilliant way to get us all invested in the world of Feudal Japan. We played a game. But not just any game. You were put in a feudal province and you would try to take over other provinces (tables) through a real-time strategy game. You got points for the work you do in class (i.e. homework, class work, etc.), and the more points you got, the more money you had to spend on things like soldiers, moves, and the order in which you go. At the end of a couple months (I forget which month exactly) the game ended. As Mr. Wood recounted on how each team did, he reached my table and said words that would forever be etched into my memory (due to how funny they were to me), “Shukoku, you survived.”

I am a person who loves to debate things. I love to debate anything. Sports, politics, religion, you name it. Now, Mr. Wood is a Phillies fan. I am a Yankees fan. Can you see where this is going? Mr. Wood and I could debate for hours (in my opinion anyway, as the chance never arose) about sports. The same goes for politics, as he is a Democrat and I, Republican. As you could probably tell, this lead to a lot of banter (a lot for me anyway) between myself and Mr. Wood. I believe this shows that Mr. Wood is willing to get close to his students and just have fun with them.

During my 8th grade year at Skyline, 1/3 through the year there was an announcement. There was going to be an after school event every Friday just for the guys. The goal of the club was to make us into productive members of society, or at least start us on that path, and to have fun at the same time. Well, a couple of friends and I joined, and guess who was in charge? Well, the answer is obvious by now; Mr. Wood. He organized Best Men’s Club wonderfully and he was even able to get tickets to sports events for the club! Mainly, we played basketball and dodge ball during the time allotted, but we also had the option of going down to Mr. Wood’s room and play board games, go on the computer, or just talk. At the end of every club, we would go to Mr. Woods’s room, the whole club, and just talk about what it meant to be a gentleman and how we should treat others and ourselves. Mr. Wood is so committed to his students that he gave up a couple of hours every Friday he could be spending with his family, and spends it with his students. And the best part is that he still holds Best Men’s Club every Friday.

Now, I’m not the type to delve into a teacher’s personal life, or to allow them to delve into mine. I also may not have that many stories to tell about Mr. Wood either, due to me being out of the loop about social and professional lives of people. However, don’t let that stop you for a second from seeing how magnificent a teacher Mr. Wood is. He is the standard to which I hold all my teachers, old and new, and the teacher that defined my stay at Skyline Middle School. To Mr. Wood directly I say, “Keep up the great work! Perhaps I’ll visit soon.”





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