Part Two of Four in my series on my two master teachers.

One master teacher is laid back. The kids love him. He quit last year.

One of our high school’s administrators lives near his house, and was, over time, able to con him into joining this year’s staff. He signed a new contract, in this new district, at the last minute.

Why did he sign? He loves kids. By itself, loving kids couldn’t and wouldn’t sustain him through a year of teaching. It made the difference when he had teetered between signing and not signing the contract offered him.

Back during his first marriage, there was a student. This student had a bad boyfriend, a bad father, a bad uncle. Read between the lines. He offered this student his couch; she took him up on it for months. Even after she moved into a stable apartment, he helped her get back on her feet, get her GED.

My theory: That’s why he signed.

This is his first year teaching at our high school. He had been frustrated from his ten years at his previous school, as a basketball coach, and in his fewer years as an athletic director. He does not coach basketball here, and he isn’t an athletic director.

In the classroom, he is still a basketball coach.

Raw charisma fills his classroom. When he’s there, students won’t notice the bare walls or broken desks or unkempt whiteboards. They notice him.

I knew he would be that sort of teacher as soon as I met him. It was the first week of December. I introduced myself. Firm, confident handshake. Bellowing baritone. His pastiche of adolescent humor.

When I teach fifth period sophomores, I don’t teach my class. I teach his. If he ever removes himself completely from his classroom, I supposed I’ll float around the vacuum he leaves in his place.

He told me once:

Two years ago, I decided that I was done teaching.

He came back.


  1. You raise some interesting points. What kind of a place does charisma have in the teacher persona?

    I am naturally very shy and reserved, but when I find myself in a group of kids, I take on a different character entirely. I am assertive. I am composed. I am in charge.

    It didn’t used to be that way, even as a teacher. But I have found that as I learned to teach more, I learned to be a leader. J. Oswald Sanders writes that leadership is influence. As I started to see that I was influencing lives, I started assuming the role of a leader.

    I think that those of us who are involved in the competitive end of things more (sports, music, etc.) tend to be better cut out for that kind of role. Not always, but often…

  2. There is no single ideal teacher persona. There are several, and they are all very different. They can be the authoritarian mentor, the charismatic basketball coach, the matronlike coddler.

    I have my own biases and preferences toward each of those archetypes, and even still I could not say that any of them is any better or worse.

    It’s like trying to compare students who learn with different modalities. Audial learners aren’t better than visual teachers, just different.

  1. 1 What Makes Two Great, Different Teachers « On the Tenure Track

    […] Part Two […]

  2. 2 great and teacher

    […] great, high school, him, kids, laid, last, love, master, master teacher, my, other, profile, …https://awaitingtenure.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/my-other-great-master-teacher/Great Teacher WebsitesWebsites for Teachers : Create teacher websites – Sign up to show […]




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: