The teacher that has it all


Shreya Desai

AP Calculus teacher Mr. Teeple stands tall and proud in his teaching career.

The typical stereotypes of teachers prevail among the judgements of students when evaluating their teaching methods and overall personalities. There are the fun teachers that spend class time cracking jokes, the dictatorial teachers that never seem to give their students a break, the melodramatic teachers that are overemotional and exaggerate the usefulness of the class, and many more. It seems as if no teacher possesses all of the best traits in order to provide the ideal learning environment. A very common stereotype is the “coach who teaches” – the varsity coach that acts as if coaching is his/her only purpose at the school and typically ends up neglecting the actual class they teach. However rare, the “teachers who coach” do exist, and these are the teachers that dedicate all of their time to the benefit of their students, using class time wisely to ensure maximum knowledge retention. One teacher at Lambert High School, who typically feels comfortable staying on the down-low, is a prime example of all of the best stereotypes brewed together, including the “teacher who coaches”: Mr. Teeple.

After a quick interview with Mr. Teeple, an AP Calculus teacher at Lambert, it was evident that he had spent much of his early life playing sports and dreaming about playing professionally someday. When asked about his transformation from a sports fanatic to a math teacher, his response was astonishing. “I played football, basketball, and baseball throughout high school, but football was my first passion and best sport. I played one year of college football at Valdosta State University before transferring to UGA my sophomore year. When I first decided to become a teacher, my thought process was that I would coach football and baseball first and be a teacher second. But when I did my student teaching my senior year at UGA I absolutely loved teaching my two classes (Honors Algebra II and AP Calculus AB) at Elbert County High. I still remember calling my dad after my first week of student teaching and telling him how awesome teaching was. That was the day I went from being a coach who would teach to a teacher who would coach.”

However, after falling in love with teaching, Mr. Teeple dropped coaching and decided to devote all of his time to his math classes. “Giving up something you love is always difficult, but I have no regrets about becoming a teacher. I have been blessed over my 18 years in teaching to work with some of the most unbelievable students, not only in Georgia, but in the nation. The reward I receive from helping a student reach his or her academic potential or helping a student pursue his or her life goals far exceeds any reward I received playing football,” he answered. This has greatly benefitted his students, for they receive his prime attention and are able to come in every morning for extra help.

This year, Mr. Teeple has taken on a new challenge. With there being more students wanting to take AP Calculus AB/BC, there was an influx of supply of students, and only one teacher, Mr. Zink. Because of this, Mr. Teeple was assigned to teach the block class, in place of Accelerated Pre-Calculus. During his 4th and 5th periods, he spends the entire two hours – three hours on Wednesday’s – teaching nonstop, rapidly going from one lesson to another. When asked about his first time teaching AB/BC, he responded, “I have enjoyed teaching AB/BC this year. I am blessed to have an amazing group of students to teach, so that makes the class much easier. While I have taught BC several times in the past, teaching double lessons every day has been the biggest adjustment. But I think both my students and I have adjusted to block format.”

Not only is Mr. Teeple a great teacher during class, but he also makes sure to provide each student with personal help when needed, primarily in the mornings. One incident that he regarded as one of his favorite memories from teaching consisted of helping a student with severe dyslexia. “She was a senior taking Advanced Algebra Trig with another teacher at another school. I ended up working with her during my planning period and after school to help her learn the material. She was in danger of not graduating because of this one math class, but after hours and hours of one on one help the last 2 months of school, she was able to pass the class. She graduated and attended Georgia College and State University the following fall. The following spring, I received an email from her mom letting me know that the student was making all A’s and B’s at GCSU, including pre-calculus! Both the student and the mom were so appreciative of me working with her to catch her up. But I remember how dedicated she was to learning the material and passing the class without any lowering of the standards. I consider my small part in helping her overcome her learning disability probably my greatest achievement in education,” he answered proudly. Evidently, the one-on-one help that Mr. Teeple makes sure to enforce has impacted every one of his students greatly.

Mr. Teeple’s class has resided in the hearts of many students – whether they still have him or not. Many even regard him as the best math teacher they’ve had, for his teaching methods and dedication linger in future math classes. The belief he has for his students motivates them to try their hardest in his class and not only receive a good grade, but also learn. What other teacher teaches you about taxes in Pre-Calculus? Students are inspired by Mr. Teeple’s hard work and strive to be just as passionate as him.