Mr. Sawyer’s Nomination

Mr. Sawyers Nomination

Mr. Sawyer, one of our teachers in the science section of our school, was recently nominated for McFarland NAU Legendary Teacher Award by a former student for building positive student relationships, engaging students in relevant and rigorous activities, and creating high expectations for students. The Legendary Teacher Program is a partnership with the Teachers Change Brains, Inc. and the Northern Arizona College of Education as said in the Knightly Update. You can learn more about the program here. Today, we interview Mr. Sawyer about his experiences teaching before and during ACP High School.

Q: How long have you been teaching? Have you been teaching the same subject? Where have you taught in the past if you’ve been teaching for quite some time?

A: This is my 11th year teaching high school, and I’ve also taught college for 11 years as well (I no longer teach college). In the past I’ve taught in Paradise Valley, Tempe, Gilbert, at ASU, and at Rio Salado College.
For high school, I’ve taught Regular/Honors Biology, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, and Astronomy. For College, I’ve taught Majors/Non-Majors Biology, Genetic Engineering, Environmental Field Science, and Human Anatomy.

Q: What are some teaching styles that you would recommend to other teachers?

A: Meet the students’ needs where they need to be met. Also, I was never told in college nor was I ever told at any job that school couldn’t be fun, too.

Q: Is there anything that you wish you’d known as a first-year teacher?

A: If students have bad behavior or are negative, it’s usually not personal.

Q: What’s the best part about teaching science?

A: I love nature. I get to not only share that with students, but I get to experience it every day at work as well.

Q: Do you have any funny anecdotes about your students that you would like to share with us?

A: Dario: one of my favorite students. On the first day I met him as a little 9th grader. He walked into my classroom and said, “What’s up, my dude? Your floor is dirty”. He then flipped over a desk and pushed it around the room, covering every inch. I asked him what he was doing, and he said “Vacuuming the floor, my dude”. After he was done, he flipped the desk back over, and said, “Now your floor is clean, my dude”, and sat down. Two years later as a junior, he was in my Marine Biology class. One day, he comes in wearing a HUGE Carhartt jacket, several sizes too big. He sits down, and we start learning about marine worms. About half way through the class, I happen to look at him, and a live chicken pops its head up out of the jacket. Without breaking eye contact, he just reached up and pushed the chicken’s head back down into the jacket. I didn’t say anything, and literally no other student even noticed, so I didn’t make a big deal about it. Comparing notes with his other teachers the next day, he had that same oversized jacket on in all of his classes. I can only assume he carried that chicken around the whole day.

Congratulations, Mr. Sawyer, for your nomination! Teaching as a career is underrated as not only are you expected to constantly surround yourself with the a variety of personalities, but you’re also nurturing the young, bright minds of the newest generation and make sure that they reach their highest potential. You also have to explain the subject you’re teaching in a manner so that everyone understands the subject, which is actually a difficult thing to because once you understand a topic, it automatically makes sense to you and now you have to simplify it even further. All teachers should be acknowledged and respected for their hard work and dedication to the subject their teaching and the immense amount of patience it takes to deal with children, which is no easy feat. So, the next time you see a teacher, remember that their job is a lot harder than it looks.