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The impact of an outstanding teacher

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

July 3, 2019

“In my class, you get either a zero or a 100,” said Mr. Childs, my high school trigonometry teacher.

In Mr. Childs’ class, homework assignments typically consisted of 25 math problems. If a student completed the assignment and didn’t get all 25 solved correctly, the student had to keep re-doing the assignment until every error was corrected. Mr. Childs’ grade book reflected a zero for each assignment until it could be changed to a 100.

It seemed like a harsh policy. To make matters worse, Mr. Childs had a computer program that wrote different questions for each student. You couldn’t just copy someone else’s answers to get the assignment done.

But there was nothing harsh about Mr. Childs. He was willing to spend any available time helping students learn the mathematical concepts and processes that would help them fix their mistakes. I fondly remember him staying at school until nearly 5 p.m. – long after he was required to be there – to help me correct my last unsolved problems on the last day of the marking period.

As I think about outstanding teachers, Mr. Childs stands out. While I learned a lot from his lessons and lectures, I experienced the most growth in those moments when I had to struggle with the same problems over and over, and in those moments when I had to reach out for help.

While I can’t say I’ve ever used trigonometry in my day-to-day life, the lessons Mr. Childs taught me extended beyond math and into all parts of my life, including my spiritual life.

I have moments of doubt. I struggle with particular sins and weaknesses over and over. I must often remind myself that there is growth and grace in the struggles. I remind myself that I have faith-filled friends and family who are willing to help me on my journey. I remind myself of what I learned from Mr. Childs.

So as we celebrate this year’s Outstanding Catholic School Teacher, let’s celebrate all the teachers who give their time and talents to form minds, hearts and souls.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

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