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A good teacher is someone who teaches their students what they need to know with as little pain as possible. A great educator teaches the same thing in a way that’s interesting. The Educator of the Year should be someone who managed to go beyond that. In my eighth grade year at Talley Middle School, I ended up with Mr. Bechler’s Social Studies class on my schedule, and I’m glad I did. He is a teacher who’s interested in what he teaches. He cares about each student, and he wants to see them succeed.

When you walk into Mr. Bechler’s class, you don’t just learn that the Boston Tea Party happened in 1773. You learn about how England was trying to tax money out of the colonies to make up for money from the seven-year war, and how this upset a group of men in Boston so badly that they decided to dress up as Native Americans and dump all the overpriced tea in the harbor. Mr. Bechler doesn’t teach facts; he tells stories. He got us involved in the subject. I remember learning about John Locke in his class; we split into two groups and had a debate about whether kings have divine right to rule. Everyone in class got excited about that debate; ask anyone from that class today, and they would still be able to tell you exactly who John Locke was and why he was important.

Mr. Bechler is funny and energetic in class. He co-directs the school play with our music teacher. He helps make the sets, organize the stage crew, and put the play together. When I was in the school’s recycling club, he was in charge of it. Mr. Bechler was more than a teacher. He’s experienced life. He’s told us the most interesting stories. He gave us a first hand account of what life is like outside our little corner of the world.

Fairly early in our eight grade year, Mr. Bechler assigned us a project. We were each to create an entry for National History Day; it could be about anything, so long as it pertained to that year’s theme (Revolution, Reaction, and Reform, for our year). We narrowed down who from our school would enter in the state competition. When two groups from his class made it to nationals, he drove us all down to Maryland for the competition. Mr. Bechler invests in his students; he puts in a lot of extra work because he cared.

Mr. Bechler doesn’t do his job so that he can get a paycheck; he does it so that he can help students to do the best that they can. He’s not a teacher that I’m going to forget. He got me interested in the cause and effects of things I otherwise would have seen as words in textbooks. He made me see the world in a different way. I don’t think anyone who’s had Mr. Bechler could forget him. That is why I would like to nominate Mr. Bechler for Educator of the Year.



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