When I walked into his class sophomore year, I saw a short man with a grumpy expression on his face. I expected another year of math with the teacher talking at me for 40 minutes. Instead, I got a genuine teacher who wanted to see me to grow in his class more than anything. Mr. Fechter kept his schedule free in the morning for struggling students to come in and get help.
Throughout the year, I came in greeted by a smirk and a “look who's back!” He would go over my test, quizzes, and homework with me to make sure I knew what I was doing. When going through my tests, he put pressure on me by giving me a similar question to one on the test. This showed me that Mr. Fechter not only wanted me to succeed, but he also wanted me to see improvement. If I got the question right, he erased my test question for the new problem I solved. This taught me that my teachers want me to thrive and learn as much as possible—but I have to want to improve and not go through the motions.
Mr. Fechter knew what worked best for his students. He put us in groups to learn from our peers. He also had this rule: Mr. Fechter did not help us until we exerted all other options. He wanted us to ask our classmates for help first. He knew that by talking to each other, it helped both students more. He encouraged us to do things that we didn’t want to because he knew it would help us. Because of him, today I talk to people around me for help instead of staring blankly at the board.
Not only did Mr. Fechter teach me the importance of seeking help, but he also made math enjoyable. He was a thoughtful teacher who did what seemed like a miracle to me…he made the unit circle enjoyable! He made a playlist of his favorites songs before 2000 and set up different points of the unit circle around the room. When the music stopped, there would be a question about the cosine, sine, or tangent of a point on the circle. This entertaining game introduced us to a dull, new topic.
If it weren’t for Mr. Fechter, I certainly would not be in pre-calc. He motivated me to work on my weaknesses and to not be embarrassed or afraid to get help.
I always asked the question, “What is this ever going to be used for?” and Mr. Fechter found a real life example each time. To this day, when I feel like what I’m learning has no real life application, I think of Mr. Fechter and how he would prove me wrong. This keeps me motivated versus complaining
Because of Mr. Fechter, I went from failing my first test in advanced algebra to a 94% on my first semester pre-calc final. Mr. Fechter became more than a teacher to me. He became a role model, a leader, and a friend.
Mr. Fechter remains the farmer who planted the roots for me during my sophomore year to become the student and person I became throughout high school. Thank you for everything Mr. Fechter!