Math teacher Justin Wingard has another accomplishment to add to his resumé: Teacher of the Year.
The award is something to celebrate and is a testament to the hard work and dedication he has put in this year not only with teaching his content but with connecting with his students, which he admitted had been challenging.
“I’m very much a person who interacts with the crowd,” Wingard said. “You can’t really interact with the crowd virtually and so you miss that interaction which is upsetting because that interaction could have helped the student learn.”
Though Wingard finds it difficult to have those interactions, students disagree.
“I do notice something special about Mr. Wingard’s teaching and interactions with students,” junior Sofia Gasulla said. “He can be really kind in class when someone does not understand something and he takes the time to explain or answer any questions the students may have.”
The care Wingard takes in making sure his students understand the material showcases the value he places on knowledge and learning.
“I want my students to obviously be successful in the content but I don’t want them to develop an “oh here’s the right answer let’s move on” but more the development to see how you get that outcome,” Wingard explained. “If you don’t continue to thirst for knowledge then you’re never going to want to know more.”
This thirst for knowledge has been picked up by students, even those that are learning virtually.
“He has helped me grow by showing me how important it is to learn as much as you can about a lesson,” junior Sasha Arlinghaus said.
Fostering the growth of students is something Wingard loves to do.
“I love teaching my content but learning about the students themselves and about how the content I’m teaching can help them towards their future or their personal goals is one of my favorite things about teaching,” Wingard said. “Just really helping the students kind of see how what we’re talking about in class is relevant to what they can use in the future.”
Helping students is not just something Wingard does in the classroom but on the field and wrestling mat as well.
“He took on the ‘dad’ role,” junior Dayton Vernado laughed. “So if we needed something we would go to him and he would make sure it got dealt with, we were fed during our break time, transportation was sorted and stuff like that.”
The encouragement Wingard gives his students has bled into his coaching style.
“When he’s coaching us he doesn’t just enforce the negative,” Vernado said. “He just tries to push us to be better at what we are doing.”
Overall, this year has shown how dedicated Wingard is to being the best teacher he can be for his students, which has become apparent in the reviews of his class.
“I think my favorite part of Mr. Wingard’s class is interacting with both him and my classmates,” Gasulla said. “Whether it be a joke or just small talk, it is nice to be able to spend some time with people. A class like that can sometimes make my day better!”