Mr. Bisbee

November 14, 2008
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I had heard things about Mr. Bisbee’s Biology class. It was guaranteed to ruin a perfect GPA and came with a 100% chance of dissatisfaction. When my schedule for sophomore year came, I pleaded, Please! Anything but Bisbee! Upon opening, my fears turned into a reality. I quickly scheduled a guidance appointment to try to switch teachers, but she dashed my last hope.


The first day of class, I sat down in my assigned seat, and let me tell you, I was anything but happy. I’m sure I probably had my arms crossed and a sour pout on my face. This is going to be the worst class ever!



I’m not really sure when or how Mr. Bisbee won me over, but he did. Ever so slowly, he did. Was he hard? Definitely! But that just meant getting an A was that much more rewarding. He warned us that people would fail his first test. I studied for hours and hours—the most I’d studied for anything before in my life. It would be hard to explain my happiness when we got our tests back and I had gotten an 86. I was baffled how getting a 100 on a test in any other class raised little emotion, and getting an 86 on this one made me happy. Perhaps that’s when I began to enjoy this class.



Not only was his class one of the most rewarding, but it was the most crazy and unpredictable. Mitosis was taught through a disco dance complete with music from “Napoleon Dynamite.” We learned Meiosis through a square dance with hay bales, live chickens, music, and Mr. Bisbee in his finest western garb. We had a “phosphate group” parade through the halls and frequently learned lessons through performing mini plays.


I’ll never forget how he introduced our project for the Genetics Unit. He began by telling us about an animal; he called it a Reebop. He went to great lengths telling us about its habitat, food, etc. and leaped in horror when he turned around to find his Reebop missing from his cage. Mr. Bisbee proceeded to walk quietly, stealthily around the room looking for this creature. Once he spotted it, he shushed the class and pointed by the lab tables. Then, to the whole class’s surprise, he dove head-first toward the creature with chairs and tables crashing in the process. He smiled in victory over capturing his lost Reebop—a gentle creature made of marshmallows and sticks.



Mr. Bisbee was undeniable quirky, but I think that is much of the reason why I loved the class. His quizzes were not quizzes but “fun evaluative exercises” which were brought to us by the “quiz elves”: Snap, Crackle, and Pop. (Pop was the quiz elf who seemed to appear the most frequently.) His PowerPoint’s on bonding came with sound effects from “James Bond.” When we watched a movie in class, he dressed as an usher and handed out movie tickets.



Mr. Bisbee is undeniably dedicated to mastering his subject. He spends time in other countries learning more about the subject he teaches. He relates his experiences to our lessons. For example, he showed us pictures of a trip he took to study moose. This gave everything a real-world application.



He taught me the lesson of “not good enough.” He taught me to go further than average work and push toward my full potential. As a result, every project, paper, and assignment gave me a sense of pride and true accomplishment.


Mr. Bisbee is motivating, fun, and makes students want to learn. In retrospect, I am thankful guidance didn’t allow me to switch teachers. He is like a healthy mix of Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus and Mr. Ratburn from Arthur—a ton of fun with a lot of learning and expertise. For these reasons, I nominate Mr. Bisbee as Educator of the year.





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