Teacher of the Week: Brian Geiss

Teacher of the Week: Brian Geiss

BRIAN GEISS planned to pursue a career in physics and astronomy.

"My original plan was to go into research, but I took a break and started substitute teaching. I realized I liked the teaching part of science more than the research," said Geiss, who studied physics at Butler, went on to earn a master's in teaching and is now in his second year of teaching eighth-grade science at Hoopeston Area Middle School.

He also teaches a coding class. What does he like about the age group he teaches?

"They know enough to start asking real questions, so you can really drive their curiosity so they can get a feel for it and see how things work. Learning science is a lot more about building a deep understanding of how things work."

Here's more:

The most rewarding part of my job is ... the moment you see that it clicks. They have that epiphany, and you know they understand what's happened, what they're learning about.

My favorite tactic for getting students to pay attention is ... when they're working on a problem, I'll take a poll of their answers. I'll say something like, "Thumbs up if 'x.' Thumbs up if 'y.' Thumbs up if you're not listening," or I'll throw in an answer that doesn't make sense just to catch who's paying attention and who's not.

Three items I have on my desk are ... a stress ball, a mug that looks like a camera lens and a stack of papers I should have organized by now.

One thing my students may be surprised to know about me is that ... in the summer of 2010, I got paid to do astronomy research (at the University of Hawaii) in Maui. It was a 10-week fellowship. My part mostly involved working with computers and entering data other people, who were actively using the telescopes at the Haleakala Observatory, had already taken.

The teaching supply I can't live without is ... magnets. We're actually doing a physical science activity where they're making their own magnetically-accelerated cannons right now.

One item on my bucket list is ... to travel across the United Kingdom, particularly Scotland, because I think the terrain is just beautiful.

Submit your nominations

On Wednesdays, we’ll spotlight an area educator who is making a difference in the classroom and community. To nominate, email N-G schools writer Lyndsay Jones at ljones@news-gazette.com or tweet her (@__lyndsayjones).

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