Student Nomination Story

I am the father of the student and am nominating Mr. Washington on his behalf. To understand the significance of this nomination I must first say something of myself. I am very difficult to impress and it is extremely rare that I ever give recognition for anything by anyone ever. My general opinion is that in any profession or for any endeavor excellence should be the standard. I honestly don't believe in awards for accomplishing what one should have been expected to do. Nor do I believe in celebrating superiority in any specific field. If one is highly intelligent and invents something meaningful or discovers something useful to the world, that accomplishment is its own reward and is the duty of the bearer of the gift enabling them to do so. Being faster than everyone else and winning a race is not an accomplishment but an expectation and average use of one's abilities in my eyes. All too often we recognize our peers and celebrate their accomplishments and hold them in high esteem due to the results of their performance being measured as better than the others. In the case of teachers we tend to look at the capacity of their knowledge of the subject and communication skills to transfer this knowledge to their students. Some people are simply gifted in this manner which makes it easy for us to look at the results of more students making higher marks as worthy of being exalted. To me this is equivalent to recognizing a wealthy person for being able to buy a car. Now when someone without money is able to obtain that same car? That is something to take notice of and admire the effort it took. Mr. Washington is such an example. He is a blue collar man whose personal life experience has shown him that efforts must be exceeded and drive and discipline must constantly increase in order to achieve real success. It's not being satisfied with what you can do but striving for what you can't do until one day you can. This is what he does in his endeavors and what he bestows on his students. He presents them with challenges and puts them in real life scenarios. He not only provides the subject matter of his class but applies that data in a manner that reflects what these kids will soon be realizing. The real world. The real world doesn't care about your feelings being hurt and there are no participation trophies. The real world doesn't give consolation when you just aren't good enough. You are accepted or rejected and that's it. You get the job or you don't and if you do you are expected to do it properly all the time or lose it to someone who can. Enough is never enough in the real world. The education system as a whole fails to recognize this fact much less incorporate it and prepare kids to deal with it. And with political correctness running amok it seems impossible for anyone in the system to be able to even suggest doing something to give that tough love and provide harsh scenarios to give kids the ability to take on these challenges. The fear of hurt feelings just doesn't allow for creating obstacles and letting kids learn the reality that failure is not only a possibility but more than likely a probability and the only defense we have against it is discipline and determination. Mr. Washington's style is unorthodox and untraditional on the surface. My son has him for 2 classes, CAD and Mechanics. In these classes Mr. Washington gives instruction just like any other class to relay the necessary knowledge in the field of study and (what I like in particular) the resources and how to use them. During the practical application phase he does just like a supervisor or foreman would in the real world. When a student is lost or uncertain in a task Mr. Washington doesn't simply provide the answer or show how it's done he directs them to the resources and has them figure out how to come up with the solution on their own. He challenges his students with debate taking the wrong side of a subject and providing complex arguments to the opposite opinion to encourage his students to confidently prove him wrong and teach them how to resolve conflict of opinions and interest with communication. He acts as an unruly boss or demanding customer or a sly competitor as they work hands on in what is a real trade environment. He has them typing up their resume and cover letters and updating them as they gain new levels of achievement and certification. Right now my son has 4 certificates for real world CAD programs that many tech applicants for engineering firms don't have. He also has grown in maturity and able to communicate and has gained respect for what his teacher does for him. He understands Mr. Washington wants him to be independent and a leader just as much as I do. It is obvious to me that this man goes far beyond what the title of teacher is. He is a mentor. He guides in every aspect of life that none of us will ever escape. Any teacher can and should teach the criteria or subject and do it well. That is why they are there. Very few care beyond what that designation is. Very often teachers become distraught when a student tries to catch up on work from another class in theirs. To many of them they feel their class is most important and the students overall needs are not the focus but rather how the student fares in their class since it is a reflection on them. The level of concern Mr. Washington has shown my son is second to none and far above any I have ever met. When he learned my son was failing chemistry he went straight to the bookshelf and grabbed the chemistry book and put it on my sons desk. He told him "I don't need you back there (pointing to the cars they were working on) I need you here working on this." He explained how important it is to complete the whole academic field to gain the opportunity to prove yourself in your specified field. My son aspires to be an engineer and Mr. Washington knowing this let him know how the requirements to get to those studies make it very necessary for him to fulfill the requirements in the studies he's currently obligated to. He put his hand on that chemistry book and told him "If you don't finish this........... You won't be given the chance to do this" As he put his hand on my sons CAD computer with all his work on it. This man cares enough about my son to sacrifice his time in his class to help my son in another subject and keep his hopes and dreams alive. The 2 A's my son makes in his classes may hold value but to me the real value is the D he helped my son get in a class that's not even his. That is an example of putting forth extra effort. That is an example of more drive and determination. That is an example of a man who knows what's most important to the student and giving his all for his success. I'm never impressed by anyone or anything but Mr. Washington impressed me enough to find someone to reach out to and express that with the intent and sincere hope he is recognized and honored for his selfless and loyal service to his community. Anyone who knows me knows that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Izaiah Oso

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