Teacher of the Week: Bob Lindsay

Teacher of the Week: Bob Lindsay

Meet BOB LINDSAY, a late-comer to the education field who has turned his age — 57 — into a running joke with his class at Fisher High School. But that's just one of the ways he tries to make things fun for his social-studies students, he said.

"We have a running gag in most of my classrooms that draws them all in — if we're talking about the Declaration of Independence, a student will say, 'Oh, well, you were there,' and then I'll say 'No — I was outside because they wouldn't let me in,'" he said. "They'll also joke about how I'm several hundred years old. That's a daily occurrence."

Here's more:

Being older and teaching is a good thing because ... I think coming to teaching later in life made me a better teacher. Being out there and being in several different positions first and then coming here, I have a much different background than teachers who start right out of college. I was in sales for 13 years. Then I spent four to five years in retail management. So I had a varied past.

I knew teaching was the right fit for me when ... I started volunteering with the youth program at church, and it made me believe I should teach. So I went back to school and got a master's degree. One of the interesting things is that when I was in sales, I would call customers, and people would say I explain things so well I should be a teacher. There are a lot of similarities.

One of my favorite lessons to teach is ... about the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. It's nice for me to see them realize where the music of even today has its roots in the Harlem Renaissance. When they see the art, music and literature produced in that time period, it's gratifying to me. We're a small town. We're not very diverse, and so that's one of the things in social studies that I really have to work hard on — helping them see the rest of the world. (The internet helps.)

Something unique about me as an educator is that ... because of my background and all the various things I've been involved in, I think I'm able to see just about any perspective from any side. I can argue any side of an argument, whether I believe in it or not. That's the key for me is trying to help them see a perspective from the other side. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes it works really well.

The most rewarding thing about teaching is ... the relationships are the most important part of my job. If I build good, positive relationships with my students, everything else works better in this classroom. What I'm really happy about is when kids graduate or go to college and come back to see me, they'll tell me they appreciated what we talked about in class. That's the best part.

What I'm looking forward to most this summer is ... me and a former teacher from here travel with students. This will be our third trip we're taking this summer. We're taking 13 students to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park and some other places out West. It's a neat six-day trip. These are beautiful places that most of them have never seen.

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