Educator of the Year

May 8, 2017

My current math teacher, Mr. Witte, has a deep voice and he’s tall. I was intimidated by him at first, but then I learned the quirky side of him. He teaches an advanced algebra/trigonometry class at south campus, where the freshman and sophomore take classes at Arrowhead Union High School. Mr. Witte also teaches a functions class at north campus, where the juniors and seniors take classes. I had him as my functions teacher.

Mr. Witte teaches his students “The Stage Theory,” which are different levels of what types of attitude to have. Stage one is an attitude where we think that our lives suck and nothing else worse can happen. Stage five is an attitude where we think that everyone is together as a whole and nobody is better. The other stages are different attitudes in between one and five that lead up to each other. He aims for us all to have stage 5 attitudes, most of the time.

He is dedicated, deliberate, and driven. I missed four days of school for vacation, and instead of using his free time for himself, he sat down with me and helped me prepare for the test.

He pushes his students to make sure they are performing as well as they can. He shows to the students how much he cares. He also has a YouTube channel where he records himself doing problems so his students can check their work from home.

Homework is optional in his class, but if a student scores poorly on their quiz or test and they want to make test corrections, it is necessary that the homework is completed. Mr. Witte believes it is our decision to do more practice or not. Most of the students in my class, including me, do the homework problems if we are struggling with the content. I learned that this is helpful because it prepares students for college (because once you get there, the professors aren't going to care if you do your homework or not).

Mr. Witte finds a way to keep learning entertaining. Whether it’s a dancing gif or a cartoon strip on the notes slide, he always lightens up the mood.


Aside from teaching math, he also coaches varsity girls basketball, is the father to four kids with a fifth on the way, was previously the dean of students, received his BSE in Mathematics and Spanish, and his masters in policy analysis and educational leadership. 

Recently, Mr. Witte pushed me to be a leader on my lacrosse team. He told me I don’t need the title of “team captain” to be a leader to my teammates. Every day, he asks me, “What did you do to be a leader?”

At first I answered, “I led the team run in practice yesterday.”

But then he advised me that a leader is more than just being the front of the group during a run. In order to be a leader, he said I needed to set good examples for my teammates and execute activities that I normally would not do (so they could follow behind me). He even once told me I should carry the backpack of the girl that tripped me during practice. I was a bit skeptical, but I considered giving it a try. He is trying to teach me how to be a bigger person and move on from little things.

Mr. Witte taught me to never lose hope. He taught me to be a leader and to always have a good attitude. Although it is not the easiest attitude for me to have, I will always try my hardest to have a stage 5 attitude and help others around me to be the best that they can be.

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