Student Nomination Story

When I left 5th grade, I was underwhelmed. The entire elementary school experience was easy, and I had a sinking feeling that central 6 would be the same. All of the kids that left the school last year were talking about this amazing Mr. Wasko guy, who taught HAP, and apparently, he was the best. I was kind of upset about the easiness of 5th grade and was hoping to get a better learning experience. Even when I got the letter telling me who I had and I got Mr. Wasko, I still had my doubts. Would this guy get me back into learning? He can't be as good as everyone says he is... and no. He was better. I entered that school on the first day and was in complete awe at how amazing the room was. There were couches and bean bags and even a purple "Chez lounge" that was the most comfortable thing ever. I didn't realise that even providing such a comfortable environment to learn in could change my attitude in the class for the better. I remember one day he was teaching a lesson and one of the kids mentioned how cool this room was. Mr. Wasko simply responded by saying "This is basically my brain." Whenever I walk into his room, my sour mood from waking up at 6:00 in the morning, walking really far to the bus stop, and almost falling asleep the whole time was gone. Multiple times have I said, "I wish that I had this class every day." I remember one day, as I was leaving class, I stopped on my way out the door and said that same thing. Mr. Wasko said, "Yeah. Me too." I nodded in agreement. "Then we need naptime," I continued. We hung out and talked as if we were friends. One of my favourite parts about his teaching is the fact that it just feels like you are talking to a friend about psychology, or essay structure. The class is my favourite part of the day, and sometimes the only thing that makes me want to go to school! I started out the year hoping that I would learn something, and I got what I hoped, obviously! All of the lessons were fun ways to learn something I never even heard of! Like I bet that almost no one knows what logos, ethos, and pathos are, or Taoism, or even Bloom's Taxonomy! Meanwhile, he uses fun learning tools, and when I say learning tools, I mean Doctor Who! Some days are just dedicated to watching an entire episode that pertains to what we are learning. I realised that it is so much easier to learn and actually remember what you learned too when you use fun learning tools and get involved. I went from dragging my feet going to school in 5th grade, to excitedly walking to class because I really want to go to Mr. Wasko's class. He would tell interesting stories to make the class more interesting, and sometimes go off on long tangents. One time, during a lesson on groupthink, he talked about his childhood and a friend of his, who was like "the cool kid" that told him to walk on some train tracks, and because this kid was way more "popular" than him, he did. He was always able to find something interesting for us. He resparked an interest in learning for me (is resparked even a word?) and brought out my silly side in school, which, might I add, is something that is very hard for a teacher to do, and I want him to be recognised for that. Cheers, to the best HAP teacher that ever was, and ever will be, Mr. Wasko!

Kayleigh Slattery

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.