Student Nomination Story

Sophomore year quickly approached and I asked my older sisters about the teachers I had for the coming year. They looked at me worried, “You have biology with Mr. Bisbee all year? Good luck.” I was a little confused. First day of school, fifth hour I walked into his class skeptical, but I was fine because most of my friends had him throughout the day. As the semester went on, I understood why my sisters told me good luck. This class had more work than any other class I’ve had, studying and memorization was involved but that’s what biology is. Sadly, memorization was the big guard at the entrance of my chances at getting a good grade in his class. Mr. Bisbee had the perfect ideas to combat this problem with students. We often did labs, activities, coloring and even dancing. He did whatever it took to memorize how a cell reproduces. But if you never participated in these activities or studied, his class would be impossible. Everyone seemed to enjoy his class because he would walk in looking around and nodding. He would always look at his students, nod and say “Mr.” or “Mrs.” and then their last name. This made each student feel noticed and valued. Second semester, we learned about mitosis and the XX and XY chromosomes. And it was confusing, but I had a basic idea of what they were. Mr. Bisbee always said, “College students memorize things from different ways like coloring, so we’re going to dance.” So one day Mr. Bisbee brings in two of his chickens and some hay, has tape on the ground separating the class four ways, and puts every the desks at the edge of the classroom so the middle was an open area. Everyone in my class was completely confused and wondered what could we possibly be doing this time. Mr. Bisbee in his greatest farmer outfit walked in nodding and asked if everyone was ready for the, “mitosis square dance.” To this day I remember the steps of mitosis: Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase. This is what made Mr. Bisbee special, he went the extra step to help his students. Going through this square dance of a year, I learned how much a teacher can ignite a flame of passion for a student. I learned how to write a quality scientific paper (much harder than anything I have had to write). But I learned more than just cells and small stuff. I also learned about animals in their environment and how they affect the living things around them. I learned how to study, memorize and learn the material. But most importantly, I learned not to listen to my sisters.

Kevin Peters

Educators leave a mark on every student they interact with, it’s part of the job. But some leave more of an impression than others, oftentimes without even realizing it. A skilled educator can take material that the students may not be very interested in and make it worth learning. Mr. Bisbee is one of these educators. Mr. Bisbee is a biology teacher at Arrowhead High School and his biology class is quite the adventure. Every sophomore at Arrowhead High School has to take a year of biology to graduate. For most students, it’s a drag and not a preferable class. This is the attitude I entered biology class with. I had no real interest in the class. This was soon going to change. Mr. Bisbee is a serious man. He states this by beginning every class silently with a straight face. After he looks down a few students, he begins his class. It’s the same every day. He would begin class in a mellow tone, like a radio talk show host. As for his classes, they follow a more traditional class structure students appreciate. Many teachers push for a new style of student driven education with less structure and more student-focused learning. Mr. Bisbee does not follow this new structure. His classes are traditional and this was one of the best parts of his class. His expectations were clear for each of us, we knew what we needed to do. Class material aside, Mr. Bisbee is also a caring teacher. Mr. Bisbee genuinely cares about every student that comes through his door and their success in their biology adventure. Every morning I had biology, I was the first one to class and every morning as I walked in I would say, “Good Morning, Mr. Bisbee.” “Good Morning, Mr. Meissner.” This interaction happened every day. It was part of that structure I talked about. I knew every morning, no matter what had happened prior to biology class, I would walk into that room and be greeted with a “good morning.” It was that one extra step that made it apparent that Mr. Bisbee cared about me as more than just a student. Every morning I looked forward to this one simple conversation that lasted all of five seconds, but it was still very important to me. Biology class never had a dull day. Mr. Bisbee would come up with activities that not only would teach the material but that would make me remember the material. Mr. Bisbee had a way of making up lessons that stuck with me and never let go. I can still remember his legendary meiosis hoedown. To get all of his students to remember how meiosis worked and all the steps, he made up a dance to demonstrate it and we had a hoedown. The hoedown was made even more complete by the two chickens on top a hay bale. Mr. Bisbee is a unforgettable teacher. Unlike other teachers, you can tell Mr. Bisbee loves what he does and that he is passionate about teaching. This is the key to him being a great teacher, he wants his students to learn although biology may not be their favorite class, he wants his students to succeed. Mr. Bisbee has left an everlasting impact on my life and many other students.

Benjamin Meissner

Teaching is hard. Teaching creatively is even harder. Teaching in an engaging way is arguably the hardest. Throughout my high school career I can only think of one teacher that taught in an engaging AND creative way; Mr. Bisbee. Going into freshman year at Arrowhead High School, I was worried about my new classes. Everything was going smoothly on my first day, but then I entered my science class. My first time walking into the room I was alarmed by the plethora of animals. Multiple snakes and a tortoise made me feel like I was in some kind of tropical forest. Then, I was greeted by a well dressed man in an incredibly colorful tie. Mr. Bisbee. No one spoke except for Mr. Bisbee who proceeded to address every student by Mr. and Ms. and point to their seats. My freshman year science class was the most challenging class I had that year, and I despised it. The labs we did involved hard work and careful reading, things that a young freshman would hate. But going into sophomore year, I realized something about Mr. Bisbee. He is someone who is passionate about what he teaches. He deeply understands everything he teaches students, and because he so deeply understands it, he is able to teach in creative and intriguing ways. Everyday of my sophomore year I looked forward to going to that biology class. Some days he would have us read dialogues by Bing and Bong (if i remembered those names correctly) where we would have to act out the characters talking about different science and biology related topics. One day class was going as it usually was, until Mr. Bisbee taught us the mitosis dance. It was a dance we would do with our hands that went through the different stages of mitosis. I made sure to look around the class on the day we had our quiz on Mitosis and low and behold at least half the class was doing the mitosis dance to help them remember. Going into high school, I had never liked learning. His classes taught me that learning can actually be fun. If Mr. Bisbee was never my teacher, I’m not sure if I would’ve ever gotten to senior year. I hope new students that he has can see what I see in him; a man who can truly teach.

Noah Wartzenluft

On my first day of Biology, sophomore year, at Arrowhead Highschool, I walked into Mr. Bisbee’s room to see aquariums. Immediately I was intrigued and looking forward to the class, which only got more and more interesting as the semester went on. Mr. Bisbee made class entertaining. One day I came to class and saw hay bales and a chicken in the classroom. Mr. Bisbee said, “Hey who is ready to learn the chicken dance!” This wasn’t all just for fun, it was to make remember a certain topic. I will never forget when he stated in a whisper “Oh there is a Rebop under the desk” as he dove on the ground crashing into chairs to catch the Rebop. A Rebop was a fake creature he used to teach us about genetics and heredity. Biology was a memorable class and it led me to take Landscape Ecology my junior year. In this class I learned about ecosystems and the relationships between different species. Having Landscape Ecology everyday first period made starting each day easier. I looked forward to this class to participate in interactive class activities and listen to Mr. Bisbee curse people with large lawns or outdoor cats for their impact on the environment. Mr. Bisbee was knowledgeable and passionate about what he was teaching and applied almost everything to his own life, instead of just stating facts and going through the material. This made class much more enjoyable to hear how he included the things we learned to his own yard. He left brush piles in his yard for the rabbits and other animals to live in and let most of his yard be a prairie instead of a yard of just grass. Mr. Bisbee inspired me to strive for a major in Integrated Science and Business at Whitewater this coming year.

Sam Budde

I have never been a fan of school. It has been hard for me to focus and enjoy learning—that was until Mr. Bisbee's class at Arrowhead High School. Mr. Bisbee teaches science 9 and biology. Walking into his class, I was nervous. Many people said Mr. Bisbee was intimidating and a difficult grader. The first days in his class I didn’t say much. I kept my head down and completed my work silently. As the semester went on I realized Mr. Bisbee wasn’t someone I should fear, he was a great teacher. I found myself trying to answer every question in class. I raised my hand if I didn’t understand a concept and he was eager to help me. Mr. Bisbee was only intimidating because he challenged students. But that is what school is about: being challenged with new knowledge. He took his job seriously and didn’t give us participation points; he cared about our grades and how we performed in his class. He graded tough so that we would learn from our mistakes. When I got my schedule the summer after freshman year, I was ecstatic to see I had Mr. Bisbee again for both semesters of biology. We got to do labs that not all the other biology classes got to do. We also learned about Ecology and animal studies. Mr. Bisbee has pets in his room: bugs, snakes, and turtles. I begged Mr. Bisbee every day to hold the snake, yet he would never let anyone in the class hold it. Until one day, he finally let me hold it. He said I deserved it because I worked hard in class and stopped bothering him about it. Mr. Bisbee made an effort to talk to me during his class; he also gave me a head nod in the hallway and said, “Hello, Ms. Schaubel.” He didn’t call us by our first name because he treated us as young adults; we were more to him than just students. Mr. Bisbee is the kind of teacher who makes me want to learn. I was so lucky to have a teacher. He made school fun and always kept me interested. He knew when it was time to have fun and when it was time to focus. Mr. Bisbee taught more than just science, he taught patience, hard work, and life skills. Mr. Bisbee isn’t ordinary, he is extraordinary. Thank you, Mr. Bisbee, for making learning enjoyable and for making me look forward to school. Thank you for being the kind of teacher who challenged me to be my best. I am very grateful I you; you made my high school experience meaningful. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to be myself in your class and for encouraging me on rough days. I will not remember every lesson you taught me, but I will never forget the kind of teacher you were.

Ellie Schaubel

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