Everyone has one person they look up to and go to when they need help or guidance. But I never had an educator I could say was the “One.” I’ve always had good educators such as my parents, teachers, coaches. But at the start of my freshman year of high school I found my educator. His name is Mr. Herriot or as I call him, Coach Herriot.
I have had him as a track coach for four years. Coach Herriot doesn’t just show up to track practice to teach us how to run fast and turn left. He shows up to shape us into excellent young men with good manners and respect. This has taught me that no matter where you are or what you are doing, you always need to show the utmost respect and have good manners.
Every once in awhile, I’ll help teach the lower level runners with whatever Coach Herriot is having them practice that day. All I can say is Coach Herriot has some serious patience, because it takes forever for them to start doing things right. It shows that he has the best interest for all of us…including the freshmen (even though they can be difficult and annoying to work with).
If I had to use one word to describe Coach Herriot it would be father, because he treats us like his children and helps us whenever we need it. There’s been multiple times that I’ve seen a runner on the team get hurt and Coach Herriot goes by his side to help him out. Even with me, during the Mini Myhrum (a meet that Arrowhead High School puts on that is almost as big as State) I was running in the open 200m. I got to about the 150m mark and both of my calves cramped to the point I could barely walk. I finished the race walking across the finish line and fell to the ground. Coach Herriot came over to make sure I was okay and got the help I need. This taught me when someone is injured or needs help do not just stand by and watch, but instead step in and help or get the help that they need.
Coach Herriot is the best hype man before a race and he lights a raging fire inside of my body. The JV squad was at the Classic 8 Relays, which is one of the biggest meets of the year for both JV and Varsity. I just got done running the Sprint Medley Relay, which is a team of four runs: two 200m, one 400m and one 800m. I ran the 400 leg of the relay. A couple of minutes before the race, Coach Herriot knew I was still tired from the last race and came up to me. He said, “If anyone can run the 400m in the sprint medley and run and 200m right after, it is you.”
One sentence is all he had to say and there was a fire burning in my chest like I’ve never experienced before. It was amazing. I ended up passing everyone that was in front of me (which is rare if you are the one starting because of the distance you have to make up). After the race, Coach Herriot gave me a nod and that is a big deal because he’s not the type of guy to show a lot of excitement.
Coach Herriot is so much more than a high school teacher. He is a coach and a mentor. He makes sure we grow not just as a runner, but as a person as well. For that, I want to thank Coach Herriot… “You have made one of the biggest impacts and have been one of the biggest mentors in my life.”
Chris Herriot and I met in the 9th grade at the age of 15. How I met him is that I was in his U.S. History class for one semester and then I had him in psych class.
I would like to give him this award. Mr. Herriot helped me with all the issues I had in school. From me, struggling in school and other people calling me names, he was always there.
He also had a no sleeping policy that lead people to laughing at the end of the class. When he asked if this one kid was sleeping, he would sneak up on the sleeping kid tap the table with his cane to wake them up. His signature words after the student freaks out is “Are you doing drugs?”
“No sir,” the student would say.
Shiny head Mr. Herriot would say “good otherwise you would be out of my classroom.”
Mr. Herriot does other things too, from setting an example as a role model to coaching track and teaching kids how to get faster and stronger. This includes me (when he calls one of the slower groups to run.) “3,2,1 go” he says as I am running. He keeps cheering me on and keeps me in a positive mood when ever I am near him.
“Marmes has the speed” he says as I finish the run. “Good job, Marmes. We need to work more on your stamina.”
I laugh and say “will do.”
What he does for me is so much more than teach me. He makes it so I’m engaged with the class by how he teaches the classes I have him in. This might involve him asking me a funny question or saying something to me that might get my attention with something like sports.
In his class, we always talk about current events for fun and last time I was in his class I never did it. So ever since Psych, I always brought up current events. He always called on me knowing I was gonna say something. Then with the grin on his face he said, “Let me guess it's something to do with sports?”
Looking in shock he knew I looked down while he had that triumphant smile.
This is why I think Mr. Herriot should win this award. He knows how to work with kids that don't normally work well in a standard classrooms and he makes all the kids want to come back and have him for another class. He knows how to make kids laugh and he knows how to brighten up someone's day.
I was in the car with my dad, on my way to the first day of tenth grade at Arrowhead Union High School. I looked through my classes and my teachers, and in the first hour sat “US History.” It seemed like the perfect class to have at the beginning of the day.
I walked in not knowing what to expect. I was excited to see my friends, some of which I knew were in the class with me. I sat in the seat I was assigned, and waited for the class to start. On the SMARTBoard was the day’s agenda, with a picture of a field sitting behind it. I thought maybe Mr. Herriot was artistic, and liked photos.
When Mr. Herriot started class, he seemed like every other teacher, going over expectations, and taking us through the syllabus. He had a deep but inviting voice, and was happy and excitable. I could tell by the way he taught that he loved the topic and was excited to teach us.
As the days went on, I knew more and more about Mr. Herriot not only as a teacher, but as a person. I could see around his room that he loved history. Throughout the room were cardboard cutouts of presidents and important figures. There were also posters and newspapers with important headlines. Alongside these were the pictures he would take on his trips. This made his room a great atmosphere to learn in.
His teaching also made for a great environment to learn in. He didn’t just teach in a monotone voice like a robot reciting code; I felt the emotion in his voice. I heard the happiness in the westward expansion, confusion in the Native American assimilation, and sadness in the great depression. He taught with energy I’ve never seen and remains unrivaled to this day.
Another aspect I liked in Mr. Herriot was his appreciation of effort. When I was given videos or documents to read, I would read some of them because I found them interesting, even though they weren't required. The next day he would ask a question related to the document, and if I knew the answer he would get a big smile on his face. His smile made me feel accomplished and proud of my work, and the extra effort I put in.
Mr. Herriot would have me awake and off to a great day by the end of our forty minute period. I was sad to leave Mr. Herriot come second semester, and I knew I would miss seeing him in his holiday hat. So thank you, Mr. Herriot, for putting a smile on my face everyday, and showing me the fun you can have when learning.
I remember picking up U.S. History class for my sophomore year social studies credit at Arrowhead High School, still having no clue who any of the teachers were. I realized I had Mr. Herriot for the whole year. In the back of my head, I thought, “Well great, this can either be a good thing if he’s fun or this can be bad if he turns out to be a snob.”
Luckily for me, he wasn’t a snob. Mr. Herriot is one of my favorite teachers. After the first week of the year, Mr. Herriot and I had that special connection where we could shoot jokes at each other or talk about sports. He would give me crap about being a New Orleans Saints fan, but it was in a fun-loving way that I knew he was messing with me. This showed me that he took the time to listen and see my personality.
I think the reason that Mr. Herriot and myself had an enjoyable relationship was because we’re both bubbly and happy people. We had the same interests which made having a conversation between us as easy as one, two, three.
Mr. Herriot made history fun to learn about and interesting by using sarcasm, enthusiasm, and expression. We did debates from time to time which was something new and enjoyable. Mr. Herriot’s teaching style showed how much he enjoyed teaching and it was telling me to enjoy whatever I was doing.
Mr. Herriot is also the track coach as well as an amazing photographer, so at the start of each class, he would have one of the photos he took as the background of his agenda slide as well as an Arrowhead sports scores on the slide. It was a neat way to show us what he does outside of teaching and a solid way to add his own flare into his teaching.
One thing I don’t think I’ve ever said out loud is the reason why I signed up to take Psychology was because Mr. Herriot told us that he also teaches. I had such a blast in his U.S. History class that I wanted him again. I unfortunately didn’t get Mr. Herriot for as my teacher.
Mr. Herriot and I still talk to this day, even though I don’t have him as a teacher. Yes, he still gives me crap about being a Saints fan when I run into him. When we do talk, it’s not an awkward conversation that most students would have with a teacher outside of a classroom. It’s a playful and fun talk about sports and life. Mr. Herriot recently asked me to join him on the track team as a high jumper this spring.
Mr. Herriot, thanks for not being a snobby teacher back in U.S. History and guiding me down the right path. Thanks for being a genuine person that I can talk to about anything and thanks for being the educator of the year.
To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.