by Davin Haley (8th)
How does a single person do it all? Some would say it takes strength, some would say it takes courage, and maybe some are just like Mr. Engle who has managed to do it all for the past 34 years.
Mr. Engle was not originally the man with the plan you may know him as. Just as every great teacher, he never really saw himself becoming one. First a pilot, then a builder, and his last choice down the extensive list was a teacher.
The common ground between all of his options: STEM, which he now teaches. Mr. Engle has taught students great things to carry them throughout their life. STEM is important. If you need to fix a leak, tighten a screw, restart your computer, these skills are important to know.
Plenty of students have felt the impact of Mr. Engle’s teaching.
When talking to past students, they brought up safety. When working around power tools in the woodshop safety is very important, but with a guide like Mr. Engle, it becomes a lot easier for students to manage. Trust me, I've seen it with my own two eyes. Students have also brought how much they hate going from class to class everyday, and let's be honest, who does?
But, the students mention how with Mr. Engle’s jokes and over fun in his class, they really began to enjoy each lesson.
Along with teaching all grades things about technology, engineering and woodworking which is his favorite topic to teach, Mr. Engle got involved a lot in school activities. He coached volleyball, track, and football. He ran a ski club for students, and even had his own school TV show where he would do morning announcements.
Now one must wonder how he did all of this and that's really where the definition of “a guy who does it all” come into play For many great teachers, the teaching may not be the hardest part. The balance between family and a job can be difficult for anyone, including Mr. Engle. This problem was by far his biggest yet, and after so many years things could begin to get harder and harder to manage. Families could get bigger, and age really begins to catch up fast.
While interviewed Mr. Engle said “I’m burning out.”
While Mr. Engle has burned the candle at both ends, so to speak, he plans to have plenty of fun after teaching. He hopes to travel... a lot. He also hopes to get into hunting, though his wife does not seem to be fond of that idea. He also hopes to spend time with his family without the restrictions that being a teacher puts on him.
Aside from the difficulties in teaching, there is always a great part of teaching for teachers. For Mr. Engle it’s “seeing how a student can change and grow throughout many years.”
Teachers always enjoy seeing how their teaching affects their students, but Mr. Engle is a unique teacher. He teaches all three grades, which means he is able to see students grow over three years and teach them while he sees it. His students have gone on to PW, college, and had families of their own.
And yet students are not the only ones being taught lessons. WIth as much experience as Mr. Engle, you're bound to learn some lessons yourself which is exactly what has happened.
According to Mr. Engle, patience has been key. While speaking with me he said that “Parents and students both go through plenty to get to school that teachers need to understand.”
This understanding clearly has been a lifesaver for him as the patience he has brought with him really makes not just him much better at teaching lessons constantly, but it relieves some of the pressure on the students and gives them breathing room to do their best on their work.
I can speak for everyone when I say that it will be impossible to find a good replacement for Mr. Engle, but when someone is able to rise to the occasion, Mr. Engle has some words of advice, and for other teachers, you can listen too.
"Come well rested, stay organized, and have LOTS of patience”
If anyone tries to replicate the greatness Mr. Engle brought to CMS, they need to follow his ethics, which are made of those steps. The steps are for you as a teacher to have a much better day with hopefully no headache, and your students will thank you too.
And finally to the students of Colonial as well as any other student who decides to read this. Mr. Engle asks of one thing:
“Get involved: you can't JUST do school.”
The biggest mistake for most students is to not get out there more. Not only will you make friends that you never even knew existed, but the teachers that run school activities will be seen in a whole new way.
So make sure to get out there.
On behalf of the students, teachers, and district, thank you, Mr. Engle.
We hope you get out there, too.