Michael Geisen, a seventh-grade science teacher at Crook County Middle School in Prineville, Ore., has been named the 2008 national teacher of the year. The 35-year-old teacher, who worked as a forester before he started teaching seven years ago, was recognized today at a White House Rose Garden ceremony hosted by President Bush.
Maybe the folks who run the teacher of the year program—the Council of Chief State School Officers—should think about renaming the award just for Geisen this year. We're thinking something along the lines of the "2008 Die Hard Teacher of the Year." Why? Consider what he wrote in his 13-page application: "I've done demos involving 14,000 volts and lived to explain them," he said. "I've totaled my vehicle in a 60-mph crash on the way to work but taught the whole day anyway. I have yet to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but I have my top students working on it. Most importantly, though, I've taught with the integrity, passion, and heart that inspire those around me to become better at what they do."
One of Geisen's recent students told the selection committee, "I think if he wanted to, he could make watching grass grow interesting." Sounds like next year's teacher applicants have a high standard to live up to. You too, Bruce Willis.