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Tim McGee; Language Arts; Worland High School

“Live your life as if it were your last”

The first bell rang; students rushed to their classes and clumsily threw their books onto the tables. Mr. McGee strides through the classroom door with a sunny grin on his face and greet us humorously to another boring day of school.

Most of my teachers have taught the same stuff, in the same style, avoided the same things, and so on. Then there was this one teacher. He always wore a tan-colored coat, a matching colored hat that hung on his back, white earphones in his ear, and sometimes a pencil also behind his ear. Every time he passed me, he would say, “Good day,” and slightly bow before moving on.

Early October 2008, while everyone was bustling to their papers ready, Mr. McGee walked to the front of the class, sat down on the desk with his legs dangling over the edge and then began class with the recitation of one of Keats’ poems. He paused and looked around, then sat up and began discussing the story The Death of Ivan Ilych.

“What would it be like to reach the end of your life and then suddenly discover that it was all wrong?” Ilych thought he was rising, but was he actually…falling?” Then Mr. McGee hands gripped the edge the table and he looked down, readying himself to discuss a serious matter. “If you had just ten seconds left to live, can you honestly say that you’re ready to leave? Have you any…regrets?” Silence.

Mr. McGee wasn’t just another English teacher who made his students read stories, memorize vocabulary, and take tests. He wasn’t just another teacher who awarded “A’s” to the procrastinating gifted writers; he awarded anyone who gave the time and effort to try. He did not judge people from the outside, believing that only those who answer questions out loud are the brightest; he was able to recognize the secret potential within all students. I am a quiet, calm, and somewhat serious student who would rather listen than talk. Most teachers just assumed that that’s all there is to me. However, Mr. McGee saw the secret potential within my essays, stories, and once-in-a-while nod and encouraged me to work harder. He lightened my downcasts, always believing in my abilities and my future.


Furthermore, he gave me what I needed: a class that challenged my beliefs. To many in my small town, it is a big “no no” to ask questions that may contradict community religious or moral beliefs. His classroom was a sanctuary for those who wanted to test their own will and potential, prepare themselves for real world competition and overcome common interrogations.


No, he is unlike any other teacher I will ever have. He pushed my mental capacity to think, solve problems, analyze different views, and most of all; he made me realize that there is never just one right answer. His goal was both to challenge students and make them realize sometimes you have to un-learn in order to learn and advance. It has worked.


I no longer see fellow students as just humans; I see their potential. Every time I see a beautiful model in a magazine, I quote, “All things sags and bags.” I look at my faults and see an opportunity for improvement. I have changed because of one teacher. No longer can I listen to a teacher, parent, community member, or some CNN news reporter without questioning the facts or wondering if it was one-sided. The more I see and understand, I more distant I feel from many of my friends and classmates. However, I will never give up my new level of understanding.


Because Mr. McGee believed in me, trusted me, encouraged, and opened my mind to a new view on the world, I survived high school, I continued writing, and most of all, he gave me the confidence and the ability to enter my dream school.



Join the Discussion

This article has 9 comments. Post your own now!

Wyogirl said...
Feb. 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm
I took Mr. McGee as a freshman and as a senior....I was also a student that was largely ignored by other teachers and maybe even considered a misfit by most standards...I was bored with most classes - except for Mcgee's...and I probably worked hardest in his class - which is saying a lot - because I was an awful student.  I wish I knew what I know now, then - because I think I'd have a much better appreciation for what he was trying to do....Thanks for being such a great educator Mr. McGee.
 
kody said...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm
i need to get more information on Mr McGee   his books of learning or also Videos " 
 
wyohusker53 said...
Apr. 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm
"No written word, no oral plea, can teach our youth what they should be.  Nor all the books on all the shelves, it's what the teachers are themselves."  When looking at academics, it is important to remember that the teacher is a fundamental part of the learning process.  Bad teachers do not create bad students, nor great teachers create great students.  There is this idea of potential, one's ability to soak in all that is given to him/her.  Mr. McGee teaches his student... (more »)
 
SomeWhereInTime replied...
Sept. 22, 2011 at 3:09 am
Mr. McGee sounds like a wonderful teacher that students would be ever so fortunate to have. It makes one wonder what kind of parents he had growing up? Why did he choose this path to have such a profound impact on society? If each of us only knew how much we can impact the least suspecting soul. Better yet, how much the least suspecting soul may remember of us when we have long forgotten.
 
truluvwaited said...
Mar. 20, 2010 at 2:02 am
I personally had Mr. McGee my freshmen and senior year (And even a college course !) He is the best teacher I ever had and I still continue to think of Omega Files and timed writings. I wish I could go back now and have class over again. I wish I had listened more to what he was saying.
 
Laughternchoclate said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm
OMG THERES AN NCIS AGENT NAMED THAT! Like on the show,
 
Gina said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm
I love your article, I want to give you a five stars but I accidently click the wrong one and end up only show one star. SORRY about that. It should be FIVE STARS!!!!!!!
 
Knownasnoni said...
Aug. 8, 2009 at 2:29 am
I wish all students could have a chance to meet him. Yes, he is very insightful and patient. It's funny how the "bad" kids from my school talk back to other teachers yet respect and listen to him. He should seriously be more recognized but I think he's content with his life.
 
Brenda said...
Aug. 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm
Hey! I think what you said about Mr. McGee is very true. I haven't personally had him as a teacher but I've seen a series of lectures made by him and recorded onto CDs. He does seem like a very insightful person, doesn't he? He is quite different from many teachers, and I think he does more than the average teacher. He is such a strong advocate of education! He really should be awarded more for everything he does. And I think, when someone's had such an effect on you, you should let ... (more »)
 
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