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Mr. Z

By , Hartland, WI

I heard about Mr. Z before I entered his Physics classroom. I heard how fun he makes his class (of normally boring topics) and that he was a calm and easy teacher to get along with. Now I don’t remember the first day much, but I do remember meeting this black haired, side burn having, about 5’10”, stocky build of a teacher. His hair reminded me of Elvis Presley’s.

He taught through real life examples and discussions. He explained how friction works with tires on a car. The types of tires with more friction and more grip help the car go through turns, get through slippery terrain and help the car launch better (I enjoyed that since I love cars). This taught me more than a normal boring lesson about friction would.

It made sense why he got off topic. He has ADD, I have ADHD, and he realized that quickly and tried to help me do the best I could. This made him relatable. He understood. Now ADHD was no excuse for him, but then he offered suggestions to help me. He told me to “turn my disability into an ability”. He encouraged me to think outside the box and see the big picture. People with ADHD don’t go along a straight road with defined lines, the road is curvy with hills and the line is faded. Non-standard thinkers are able to think through a problem differently. If I try to solve a problem the same way over and over again expecting the same result, I would be the definition of insane. If I always worry about finite details the whole point/solution will be lost, I have to take a step back to see the bigger picture.

Mr. Z is also one of my Engineering Design Development Teachers (EDD). Between EDD and Physics, I learned I could ask him anything and he would either know the answer, would spend his free time finding the answer, or would point me in the right direction. He is a teacher who will be honest with me, but also supportive. He won’t completely destroy my thought process. In doing that, Mr. Z allowed me to grow.

To some having a teacher who treats you as more of an equal would be bad for learning. But it is much better, in order for anyone to teach or learn from others they have to know who they are. Honestly, until I get to know someone, I don’t know them, and until they try to get to know me, they don’t know me.

Mr. Z knows me.

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