Patrick Burke Special Ed Social Studies Teacher and Cross Country Coach at Elwood Middle School for Teen Ink Educator of the Year
My name is Alexander L. and I believe that the educator of the year is Patrick Burke. Mr. Burke is my cross country coach at Elwood Middle School. Mr. Burke is fantastic at what he does. He isn’t strict and lets us have loads of fun. Every Friday we jog to Elwood Park and we run two laps around the park. Although it’s a lot of running, we get to have fun after. We play games such as tag or manhunt. When we get back to the school we get to have an ice pop or an ice cream sandwich. I always look forward to Friday because Mr.Burke doesn’t make us do much and everyone has a good time.
He always makes sure that we are okay and we aren’t doing more than what we are capable of doing. He slowly increases the distance we have to run and encourages us to do better. I enjoy being at cross country because Mr. Burke makes our practices fun and exciting. He makes jokes like saying that we will be running 10 miles or something crazy like that. He cheers us on as we run around our practice course and congratulates us when we finish running. He makes the workouts we do adjustable so if someone can’t do the full workout then there are different places to stop. The first day I couldn’t run the full mile so he let me do ¾ of a mile. At every meet he always tells me to improve and that i’m doing a great job and it makes me feel really good about myself. He doesn’t care if we lose or if we win, he only wants improvement and I like that.
Mr. Burke is very social to everyone on the team and he likes to talk. I have gotten so much better because of cross country and Mr.Burke. I went from being the worst on my team to beating my time by a full minute and beating over 20 kids! He helped me get better in less than a month. I feel great when we all huddle up to hear how we did and he congratulates everyone. He encourages everyone to keep getting better and everyone is excited to know how they did. I’ve improved by at least 5 minutes. I know some coaches can be strict, or rough, or mean, but Mr. Burke is none of those things. It really amazed on how nice he was to everyone.
On the first day, kids didn’t think they could do complete the mile or kids thought they were going to puke so Mr. Burke helped them out. He let them stop or for some he encouraged them to keep going. I didn’t think I was going to make it because i was really tired but Mr. Burke and everyone who finished cheered me on and it made me feel great. He had everyone on the cross country team get to know each other so it wasn’t awkward and no one would be nervous. Mr. Burke is also very social outside of being my cross country coach. He is involved with the 5 kilometer run we do at our school and finishes with around 21 minutes every year! If you somehow beat him you get a medal. He is also cheering for everyone at the race. He is at a lot of the events we have at Elwood Middle School.
Mr. Burke is polite and friendly to everyone. He talks to people and he makes lots of jokes. Sometimes he comes into my class and makes a few jokes and everyone loves it. I always have a fun time with Mr. Burke. He’s fun to be around and he always makes me laugh. Mr. Burke is very athletic and he competes in races a lot. He is an extremely fast runner and he has almost won marathons before. Overall, Mr. Burke is an amazing guy and I believe he is the educator of the year.