Scary lockers, enormous hallways, loud students. How else would you describe life at a brand new high school? It was the beginning of my junior year and I didn’t know anyone. New seats and new material in each class. I thought having physics right after my first period of advanced math would fry my brain. But as I walked into physics, I saw groups of tables grouped together and I panicked (because I knew I would have to talk to the people around me). As I sat down, a teacher with hair that reminded me of Elvis, walked in and described how with every force there is an equal and opposite reaction. I expected the average description of Newton’s third law with an occasional boring picture. But what I got instead was much different. I got an energetic teacher who hopped around the front of the room performing the motions of a kid on a swing.
A science enthusiast was not a description that I used for myself. Class after class, I realized physics was the same as my math class—but physics had a purpose and I saw how physics connected to everyday activities.
After we spent a class talking about Blizz-X tires and how the tire groove depth can make you either take a turn and stay on the road or end up in a frozen ditch, I realized how helpful Mr. Zuercher was. Not only was he the teacher that I could talk to, but he was also the teacher who took a concept in the class and transformed it into something that I could actually use outside.
Having ADD, classes are more difficult to focus in. I notice the little details of my pencil that I never observed before and how the second poster to the right in the back is more crooked than the fourth one to the left. I focus on them as if they are what I am supposed to be focusing on. But Mr. Zuercher made it where I focus on the board and what he is saying. In his class, I started to understand the force of friction and how the normal force would equal the force of gravity. He helped me find a way to be interested in a subject I thought was forever just a bad grade. He helped me connect to material I thought was unconnectable.
There is not an abundance of teachers who are able to make their students feel comfortable to go in and ask for help. But Mr. Z unfailingly offered help to anyone who needed it and made himself available (so all students could fit tutoring into their schedules). I went in the mornings and it was like I was getting my own private session on the physics we learned the day before.
I am still in Physics with Mr. Zuercher and I am not marvalous at physics—but if I didn’t have Mr. Z, I wouldn’t be as engaged in physics and I wouldn’t be able to connect my everyday activities to things that we talk about in class.