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Rockstar Teachers

There's just something about certain teachers that draws students to them in droves and keeps them checking in years, even decades later. Here, we highlight some of these rockstars of the classroom.

“He’s very energetic,” said student Evelyn Griffin. “He makes learning fun”

‘The Classroom is Why I Wake Up in the Morning’

Eighth-grader Aaron Souter touched an iPad screen to maneuver a sphero along a stairwell floor, while classmate Ryan Reszka constructed an obstacle course of ramps for the plastic robot to jump. The coding skills students need to pull off the...

‘Soul of Northview’ Says Students Are the Reward

Ted Burba loves to swim, and he’s good at it. He twice won the state diving championship as a student at East Grand Rapids High School, and in 1960 swam the last 50 yards for EGR’s state-champion 200-yard relay...

‘100 percent mesmerized by my job-this is what I get to do today’

Making sure each student is recognized and learns life lessons are what matters, said this Cedar Springs teacher...

‘My Class is More Than What I Teach Them’

At 7:45 a.m. daily, teacher Terry Blevins begins the day with his 30 audiovisual broadcasting students tooling about a warren of separate rooms stuffed with computer screens, Canon cameras, teleprompters, professional video cameras on pedestals and video monitors. In...

Fast Talking, Storm Chasing, Globe-Toting Teacher

The first thing you notice in Dave Carmichael's weather and science class is that he often carries around a globe, using it as a prop to explain intertropical convergence, polar jet streams and pressure belts. The second thing you notice...

Retirement, Yes! Leave School? No Way!

For Sue Blackall, retirement is just the beginning. After 32 years and 800 pupils, the Appleview Elementary third grade teacher plans to open the book on two new projects in the district when she hangs up her teacher's hat this...

Sisters Follow Identical Career Paths

West Godwin Elementary School Principal Steve Minard remembers interviewing teachers for a third-grade position. One candidate had an ideal background: an elementary education degree from Hope College and teaching experience in Honduras. Later that afternoon, another teacher interviewed with the...

Part Silly Adult, Human Monkey Bar; All Kindergarten Teacher

Gerald Neff sits on a kindergartner-size table at the front of his classroom on a recent morning and welcomes his class to a new day. "Morning Georgia! You're wearing a dress. Are you getting married today?" he asks a youngster...

‘I show them another way, and another way, and another way’

A bank was robbed. Fifteen suspects – all middle-school staff members – had their mugshots taken, each holding a dollar bill up to their forehead. Algebra students were notified. The CSI team was waiting on video surveillance to confirm the...

‘Feels like I just got here yesterday’

Kelly LaCroix has worked in the same classroom at Kettle Lake Elementary for two decades, and her enthusiasm continues to grow every day...
Hugs from students like Allison Klimek are nothing unusual for English teacher David Lyons

‘Such Good and Such Promise in Each of Them’

Fourteen students form a semicircle, discussing in detail the meaning of a poem by Pablo Neruda, "I Like When You Are Quiet." Witness the teaching of David Lyons. He lets them talk for 45 minutes, with hardly a pause, about...

Teacher Challenges Students to Think, Take Risks

Mike Swift flipped off the lights in his eighth-grade language arts classroom. He momentarily went into the hall, cracked open the door and peered in, staring. His students shrieked. Swift had created an image they are not likely to forget...

‘It was the right job for me — always has been’

In Cindy Prentler’s second grade classroom, books inspire, teach, and beautify the space...

‘Nobody can take our education away’

After completing her student teaching at Thornapple Kellogg, Erin Kraker is back, bringing her own style to the classroom...

Teaching French Not a Language But a Lifestyle

As a Crock-Pot of beef bourguignon simmered, high school students in Amy Wood's class took time developing their palates for Parisian food. With a hearty "Bon appetit!" from Wood, better known as "madame," they dined on goat cheese, crusty baguettes,...
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