Five minutes with … |

Five minutes with …

Name? Bryan Whiting

Birthplace? Greeley, Colo., but lived there for two weeks. Grew up in Cody, Wyo.

What do you teach? Marketing and Entrepreneurial Education, Economics, Business Law at Glenwood Springs High School

How many years have you been teaching? 30

How many years in Re-1? 24

What was your favorite academic subject in high school? Chemistry. The chemistry teacher was the basketball coach, and he always let me and my two best friends come into the chemistry lab and do experiments during the lunch hour. I should say he let us until one day he came back into the lab, asked what we had made, and then evacuated the school. About 10 minutes later the chem table containing the sink where we had washed our experiment down the drain, exploded.

Why are you passionate about teaching? It’s a difficult job which needs to be done well and your “customers” are not just VIP, they are the most important people.

How do you feel about local schools’ obligations under the No Child Left Behind Act? Being held accountable to do your job is never a bad thing in any career. Whether the procedures in NCLB do that well is debatable. Knowledge is the lowest level of learning, and NCLB tests merely assess knowledge. There are people in all walks of life who may not be very good at a test, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they need to know and they may be actually quite talented at applying that knowledge. Ideally, if a school district only hired teachers who “are their own worst critic,” their standards for themselves would be higher than that set by their administrators or NCLB and we wouldn’t have to worry about outside accountability. But sadly such characteristics seem to be in short supply.

Who was your role model while growing up? As sappy as it sounds: my father. He taught me by modeling that if you undertake something you have the responsibility to do it well. He taught me by attitude and action that every career is a “professional” career if you do it better than expected. He taught me that a “professional” career is never an eight-hour day. Professionals are not governed by time but rather by what needs to be done. He felt that if your career can be done in 8 hours a day, either you should be doing more or what you are doing has limited importance.

What is one very interesting thing that your students don’t know about you? That at one time I did have hair.

What advice would you give students who would like to have a successful career after graduation? You have to get off your butt to make a buck and do something that puts a light in other people’s eyes.

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