I am in my third year as a Middle School Gifted Education teacher and fifteenth year overall as an educator.   I recently learned that the program I am the teacher of has been cut.  I will still have a teaching position, but I will no longer be teaching gifted kids and I will no longer be teaching in middle school.  I have gained many things from teaching gifted kids, most of all, is that many gifted kids need to be less hard on themselves and not take life as seriously as they do.  I hope that somehow my students have learned this lesson along with me during the past three years. As a teacher, I often wonder is anything I am doing with my students going to stick with them when they leave school and move on with their lives.  I wonder if most of them are just biding their time until they no longer have to be forced into coming to my class or any other class for that matter.  I wonder if they will use what they have learned from me beyond my classroom, when they start a profession, go to college, begin a family, and start living their own lives.  After all, the biggest reason I became a teacher is that I wanted to have some kind of impact beyond my classroom, in my students’ lives.  Did any of them learn anything from me that they will use to make themselves a better person somehow? Or was my class just a way they could pass the day a little faster?

Please reply below in a comment, if you can answer this question.


20 Responses to “Legacy”

  1. If exposure the world (China and every conceivable technological tool available on line) in the classroom doesn’t prove to change a student’s life, I don’t understand what could. Your dedication and passion is evident, and you HAVE had a profound impact on your students, as well as others who have come in contact with your engaged approach to teaching. Few teachers possess the level of enthusiasm you have displayed which IS incredibly powerful to the youth. Sorry to hear about the cuts to progressive education, but plead do keep up the good fight!

  2. nerdy-ninja(PaigeP) Says:

    Mr A, I know that you have impacted my life in the short time I have known you and I know that I will always remember the lessons you have taught me. I promise that I will always try to use the HOM everyday from now on. You rock and I will miss seeing you everyday! 🙂

  3. Well I am at a loss for words. You are definitely one of my favorite teachers, it is a shame to see you go. You grabbed my attention better than any other teacher has, and doubtfully ever will. You have made a large impact on my life, it was a pleasure taking your class. I have learned much about the Habits of Mind which am sure will help me in the future. I do plan to further my education, and eventually get new dogtags. Don’t worry, I’m going to earn them this time. I will take these memories to England with me and even after I return to California, I will not forget. Good luck, and thanks for being the best ESC teacher ever… of all time 🙂

  4. Matthew Harris Says:

    Mr. A it really stinks you are going. I always looked forward to your class. It was so awesome. You showed me to do so much and told me to do my best. I will keep working on my HOM. I will really miss you as one of my teachers.

  5. Quincey Borggard Says:

    Mr. A-I have learned so much from your class this year….not only academic stuff but real life lessons as well. The projects we have done in ECS have been so different than those in other classes and so beneficial. You have definitely made a positive impact on my life. I will always try to go outside my comfort zone and to practice the habits of mind. You are a great teacher and I am really sad to see you go! Good luck with your new position. We will all miss you next year!!! 🙂

  6. Kathryn Heryla Says:

    Mr. A when I think about all that you have taught me your advice, shared thoughts, and quotes race through my head to no avail. However when I am thinking about what I’m going to do for college or what I want to do over the weekend your voice pops into my head and I think of how you always say, “Live your life one day at a time and stop looking into the future.” Well I don’t want to sound mean but you need to stop looking in the future, your the best teacher and without a doubt my favorite and that is all you need to worry about. When you look back on teaching ECS think of how Kempa said he hated quest atlantis but did he ever say anything about everything eles? No because I know secretly he loved it. To adress another question Mr. Haow is right, your teaching methods are soooo uniqe that if nothing eles sticks in my head I know they will. You are the only teacher I have ever had that has gotten us to skype with our chinese pen pals or got us to interview a tv news anchor, or even ever thought of getting us out into the world of volenttering. There are so many things that you leave behind for us kids who have had the privledge to be in your class I don’t even know where to start. I don’t have much eles to say other than i’m going to miss you…so much. See you again Mr. A.

    -Kathryn H.

  7. Jordyn Voss Says:

    I suppose that it’s true that some kids did it just to make time go faster, but most of the gifted students that I associate with love ECS- always have. We’re put in a class where we learn something other than what we seem to already know. I know that I will remember learning all about Utopias and viewpoints, and a ton of different things. I remember reading articles, and I am far more aware of viewpoints, and how that makes all the difference. I realized that gifted kids really are hard on themselves, and try to do everything they possibly can. I think after hearing you say it a ton of times, I finally realized that I was waaay over-working myself, and learned to regulate myself. Above all, I will remember to have fun in everything I do. I think that I gained a certain confidence from being in a class with my equals, where everyone (except Verzuh) get treated the same 😀

    The Habits of Mind seem ingrained in my head…. and I don’t think they’ll ever go away.
    You won’t have to worry about leaving a Legacy- we’ll all remember you, and I can say for sure, that we’ll never forget you, and we’ll honestly miss having such a fun and creative teacher in our lives.

    Thank you so much for the years in ECS!

  8. Jordyn Voss Says:

    I forgot to say that I have newfound trust in Wikipedia- it’s not all lies!!

    I feel like I have to add this on- it’s really hard to put into words what you meant to us. I honestly doubt I’ll have another teacher that taught me more in two quarters than I’ll probably have learned in all eight, and still have had extra time to make me laugh so hard that I cried- several times!

    Pretty much every day, ECS made my day a lot better. I missed it when It was gone, and I’m sincerely going to miss it when I can’t press the unicorn button or giggle about ‘shrinking the donkey’ and not get in trouble for it during class.

    These past two years have been incredibly valuable and completely irreplacable…. I might just have to convert to buddhachristianhinduslamic/atheism….. how is that possible you ask? Anything is possible with God!

  9. Paige Wilson Says:

    I am really upset that you lost your job. Your an amazing teacher. It’s true that when I first came to your class in 7th grade I just wanted out of English. But things changed. I used to never say what I actually thought or go out of my comfort zone but thanks to you I now can. Not only do I feel bad that you don’t teach ECS anymore, but I’m also sad for the kids who don’t get to be taught by you. You are an amazing teacher, and I won’t forget the lessons you taught me. That period 2 is your Guinea pigs, your pirate wife, the lesson big head taught you (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), that 2 legs are bad and 4 legs are goooood, that its your job to get us out of our comfort zone, You didn’t leave your house and go to kindergarten till you were 20. For the first few weeks in 7th grade I thought you were a strange teacher, but one day you told us to say “pudding” without laughing. I thought is was pointless, but decided to try it anyway. I figured it would be easy, but I couldn’t do it. You always made class fun and unique, no day was ever the same. You are my favorite Buddha/christian/Hindu/Islamic/atheist teacher EVER!
    P.S. Another lesson you taught me is that Ryan sounds like a unicorn.
    P.P.S. I forgot to compliment you : as you told all of us in period 2, you have no problem finding humor.
    P.P.P.S. I voted for the shave, and I think it’s a good move for you, you look great.

  10. Kati Michelotti Says:

    Today was a depressing day having to go back to my regular classes and knowing that I will never be in an ECS class in which you are the teacher ever again. Since last year, ECS has been my favorite yet most challenging class of the day. In the beginning of my 7th grade year I was a little skeptical of participating in ECS, but after a few quick weeks I was without a doubt going to sign up for that class every opportunity given. You have given me the toughest assignments of my life, I learned to accept that I couldn’t understand everything and that I would just have to keep trying which improved my performance in all classes. I learned how to do things with computers that I never knew were possible, along with speaking Chinese, and the Habits of Mind. It breaks my heart to know that the new 7th graders will never have a chance to experience your class. I believe you have taught me many great things that I will never forget. One thing I know now is that I’m happy that I’m an 8th grader and was able to have you as a teacher all 4 quarters. You were a teacher that genuinely cared about every single one of your students and you were willing to do anything to help them succeed. Thank you so so so much for being the best teacher I have ever had…how are those self esteem issues?

  11. Jared McMullen Says:

    Mr. a,
    You have taught us a lot. Whenever it comes to telling us your pirate wife stories or the Habits of Mind. I will always remember you and what you have taught me to help me succeed in the future. It is so sad that you have to leave us and how your job as a gifted educator was cut. It was so sad to leave you on that last day of the quarter. I was actually tearing up a little after class. Your class is my favorite class of the day because it’s a lot of fun, and it is the most challenging class of my school day. It was so sad for me to go back to English class because rather than going to ECS I has to go to, as I would say… an easy class. You should believe that what you have taught us will help us in our future lives. What you have taught us will help us succeed in live as well as enrich us to coming closer to the future (see, I’m already using big words like enrich). I would like to thank you for teaching me and the rest of the ECS students in our school. We will all miss you very much!

    Jared McMullen from your 8th Period Class

  12. Alexis Good Says:

    Mr. A-
    I’m going to miss being one of your students. I learned more from you than I ever thought I would from a teacher. You showed us all that you can be whoever you want to if you stop caring what other people think. I think that simple thing is going to help me a lot in life. The Habits Of Mind are very useful when dealing with people (I’m too socially awkward to find that easy) and problems. No other teacher has ever showed me that. I appreciate all you’ve done for us. Since I’ve been in your class, I’ve realized that I don’t need to be so hard on myself all the time. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to sweat all of the small stuff and sometimes I just need to laugh at all of the stupid mistakes I’ve made.
    I’ll be sure to let you know when I find something awesome that you might like to see!
    Missing you already,
    Alexis 🙂

  13. Anonymous Says:

    ECS and Mr. A helped me find something more, and helped me find more opportunities. It helped me develop. We will all miss you, Mr. A. We’ve had an adventure with you. Now, I guess it’s time to go our seperate ways. A whole new adventure! Thank you, Mr. A, for showing us a bright, new way. We will all miss you!
    😉 🙂 #-) :`-( (((H)))

  14. Mr. A,
    I just wanted to thank you for what you have done for me. I have enjoyed your class since second quarter in seventh grade and wish that you would still be able to teach it and share all of the wonderful tools and tips with other kids. It means a lot to me that you worked so hard to make ECS enjoyable, and you succeeded greatly. I learned everything from how to make your own website to how to talk in Chinese to kids in China. I would also like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to work in Minecraft. I have enjoyed that a lot as well. I hope you can change more lives like you have mine with whatever you do next.
    D. E.

  15. That’s a shame, I am sure all the kids benefitted, you are awesum, the Montana kids in massively Minecraft are epic.

  16. Kelsay Jensen Says:

    Mr. A,
    I haven’t been able to answer this until today. Sure, I knew how to say you influenced my life and the way I viewed the world, but I couldn’t face it was over. It had just begin, and I just didn’t want to face the fact it was, truly, over. So here it is.

    You taught me that it was okay to go out of your comfort zone. Yes, it was obviously uncomfortable out there, but you realize how you have the strength and the potential to do what you want in those moments. You taught me that the best way to do something is the way you want, not just the way the teacher tells you to, and that it is always good to get to the 110% instead of just the 100%. You taught me to always give it my all, no matter what I’m doing, and to always do what you believe in, not what you are told to believe in.

    I also always think about the habits of mind,,, Before I even do something, I always think about them before I do something or make a decision…

    Have you made an impact on my life? Yes, Most definitely. My life would be completely different without you. You have helped me aspire to go above and beyond, and I always think about how much fun and how much I’ve learned in ECS.

    You have also been one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. I will never forget you. I’m proud to be one of your students. Thank you for the marvelous year… You’ve made it a year I will never forget.

    Kelsay G. Jensen

  17. Emily Grooms Says:

    Mr. A,
    You are the most influential teacher I have had. I’m sure you don’t realize how much i have learned in your class and will miss you throughout my life. I have learned more in your class for one quarter than i did in an entire year. You taught me that its okay to make mistakes, you don’t always have to be exactly perfect all the time. You taught me that it’s okay to go out of your comfort zone. You taught that you can have fun while learning and you taught me that school is fun. Everyday in the third quarter the only thing i looked forward to was your class. The only reason why I came to school was I enjoyed your class more than any other. Thanks for helping me reach my full potential. You have taught me soo much I can’t even begin to describe how much you have changed and influenced my life.

    Not only did you teach me so much but you were such a great teacher. You knew how make it so we understood and tried different teaching styles that helped us look at situations differently. E.C.S. was the only class that I was challenged in and now that its gone school is boring. I’m not learning anything and being challenged.

    Have you influenced my life? YES!!!!!!!! You have impacted me in so many ways and have most definitively changed my life for the better. I came into this year shy, awkward, and scared, not wanting to come out of my comfort zone. Now that I have been in your class this year I am a confident, outgoing person who use to have really low self esteem and now i have a lot of self esteem all because of what you have taught me.

    I’m so sad that you are leaving. my life won’t be as amazing as it was with you as my teacher. you were one of my absolute favorite teacher and it brings a tear to my eye every time i think of you leaving. Thanks for being the amazing teacher and an amazing person inside and out. You really knew how to change my bad days into great happy days. I’m so sad but know that you will enjoy your next job, not as much as your one at north. I’m sorry that you are leaving i know how much you enjoyed your job and its sad to see you go. Ill try not to cry every time i walk past your class. Thanks for everything!!!! You will be missed by many! :,,,,,,(

    Emily Grooms

  18. Helen Margaris Says:

    Oh gosh, Mr. A, that article made me so sad! I will definitely miss you next year! This year, you helped me overcome part of my extreme stage fright. I will definitely use that skill later in life. To me, your class was not “just a way to pass the time.” ECS was actually my favorite core class for 2nd and 4th quarter. We will all miss you at East Middle School in Great Falls, MT. 🙂

  19. Julia Kay Tonne Says:

    I may be one of the only people that actually did this after school got out and still thought of it as a school assignment. And get this, I may be the only person answering this after school got out and has something most people would think of as something better to do. Mr. A, you are the utmost, absolutely, spectacularly, most meaningful teacher I have ever had. I have learned more in your class then in any other of my classes. I truly mean this. And the things that I have learned are more than simple tid bits like a plant cell has a cell wall and a descirbing word is called an adjective. I mean I have learned how to let go and how to have fun and how to manage my time and not freak out about grammar mistakes such as too many ands. I wish that this class would not be cut because it is the only one that means more to me than just grades. It means an opportunity to be me and to show off and to make mistakes that don’t matter. I loved your class because of you as a teacher and you as a friend. P.S. I don’t have an uncle Tony.

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