Educator of the Year

April 6, 2009
By jake krause GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
jake krause GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

My eighth grade experience was less than ideal. My teachers started noticing my decline and one even told my guidance counselor. I just couldn’t get interested in any of my classes. I was re-taking the same math class from the year before and my classmates thought I was a know-it-all. In English, we started reading the book The Outsiders. I hated reading. I never did the outside reading assignments. And, I wasn’t the only one.
My teacher Mr. Andersen noticed this and decided to read to us during class. I thought this is going to be terrible, but to my surprise, it was great. Mr. Andersen gave each character their own unique voice and actually let their personality shine through. This seemly terrible book had become amazing. I went home that night and read every page from the start to where we had covered in class. Mr. Andersen showed me it wasn’t just “reading a book,” but it was reading a story. Whether it was fictional or not, it was someone’s story.
After finishing the book, we had a discussion about it. It’s safe to say I was asking the most questions and doing all the talking. At the time I thought it was just because I enjoyed the book, but I soon realized that it wasn’t the book that got me interested in reading, it was Mr. Andersen. I had never had a teacher who showed so much interest in their subject. With him it didn’t ever seem like a teacher. Instead, I just thought he was constantly telling stories, and he had a new one every day. For the first and only time, I enjoyed English. He showed me the power of words.
Later in the year, things changed. His wife had a baby and he left on paternity leave for a couple months. I went from an “A” in the class to a “C.” It wasn’t because it was new or harder material; we did the same things. We read To Kill a Mockingbird. The sub tried reading it in class and I fell asleep. She just wasn’t Mr. Andersen. She couldn’t give each person their own voice, their own personality, or even pronounce their names. My favorite class had suddenly changed into my least favorite, and there was nothing I could do about it.
When Mr. Andersen came back our class told him how much we disliked the substitute and how we couldn’t learn anything from her, but what we were actually saying was how much we liked him, and how well we learned from him. These are only some of the many reasons why I am nominating Mr. Andersen for your award.

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