Educator of the Year | Teen Ink

Educator of the Year

May 8, 2018
By thewritinggirl GOLD, Oconomowoc , Wisconsin
thewritinggirl GOLD, Oconomowoc , Wisconsin
10 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I had always loved math growing up. Middle school through freshman year, I was the kid all the other students came to for help. I loved helping others excel in the subject I loved the most. Overall, math was a breeze. Then, the stormy winds of sophomore year knocked me over. I tried and tried to understand advanced algebra and finally gave up. “I need to see a tutor,” I dreadfully whispered to myself in study hall.

I walked into the tutoring section on the library, sitting at the math help desk, feeling dumb. I hated it. I sat down at the tutoring table and saw Mr. Witte walk over. At first, I was quiet and nervous, but eventually as he explained the algebra I wasn’t getting. I got more vocal and learned to understand. He was calm and knew exactly where my problems were stemming from. At the end of our tutoring session, he asked me about my upcoming tests, and other classes I was in at school. My friend Meghan and I went to him for the rest of first semester, enjoying our tutoring/social sessions with Mr. Witte. Mr. Witte really made me believe that teachers are not just there to instruct, but to help in a way that makes you enjoy class and apply your knowledge not just in the classroom.

At the beginning of junior year, I walked into my new math classroom to see Mr. Witte sitting behind the desk. Oh great…, I thought to myself. He’s going to think I am dumb and don’t know how to do any of this math due to me always going to him for tutoring! That definitely was not the case. I loved Mr. Witte’s functions class. I understood all of his analogies and scored an A+ on his final! It was something I never thought would happen, but it made me excited to walk into Witte’s class everyday.

Mr. Witte is a coach, teacher, and tutor in school, and outside of school, he is a father of five. Mr. Witte is like superman in a button down and pressed slacks. He always looks professional, and you can tell how much he loves his students, his family, and his team.

Whenever Mr. Witte walks into a room, he greets each individual student and starts with a “Good Afternoon!”, that all students learn to echo in return. In his laid back demeanor, Mr. Witte goes through the notes and problem sets making us all laugh and trying to get everyone involved. Mr. Witte talks to each student and tries to connect with them on a personal level as well as in the student/teacher relationship.

Mr. Witte is all about getting everyone to work as a team through “Stage Theory”. Every once in awhile, we will take a class period to evaluate our attitudes in school and towards other people to really see if we are working in a team-based atmosphere. Most of the time, this really is not the case. But, Mr. Witte has a way of making us all believe we are able to achieve this team based bond with everyone in our class, and to successfully get through the school year. I have also used this outside math class in other areas, such as Broadway Company and even with my own sibling. We all compete to be the best, whether it’s voices or for mom and dad’s approval on grades. But if we all join together, we can have more success in making everyone happy around us along with ourselves.
Mr. Witte is overall quite the “Witty” individual. From walking through the hallway and giving a nod to all his students, past and present, to getting the classes up and moving with fun probability games, he really knows how to make his students enjoy a class that may not come easy to everyone. I therefore nominate Rick Witte for Teacher of the year.

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