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Cover///Teachers

Teachers with a twist Colorful educators who make school cool

STORY BY JOY WHITE | PHOTOS BY JOE CRUZ

Teaching is much more than a job. It requires the right personality and character, as well as dedication. Many teachers let their personalities shine in the classroom, earning them a reputation as a “cool teacher” while also assisting their purpose of engaging, connecting with and influencing their students.

Kelly Fitzpatrick Years teaching: 17 years School: Academy of Our Lady of Guam Subjects: Physical science and physics Hobbies: Diving and outdoors activities

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Kelly Fitzpatrick’s theory is, the cornier the joke, the more the kids will like it. The general science and physics teacher tells a lot of “bad jokes” to his students at the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and has been known to jump on the desk to sing an operatic version of “Happy Birthday,” he says. “Teaching is performance art. You have to do what’s required to get students to learn,” Fitzpatrick says. “You have to be in the entertainment business a little, too.” He’ll ask his students, “What did the baby acorn say?” When they do not guess the answer, he’ll say, “Geometry.” “A few will get it, then they have to explain it to the others. And you can watch it spread across the room,” he says. The two liner comes from a joke book his parents gifted him as a kid, and it remains one of his favorites. Another of his favorites is: “What did the duck say to the painted Easter egg?” “Oh, an orange marmalade!” Humor and fun in the classroom are important for engaging students, he says. “You have to have fun. If not, then you’re a distraction rather than an addition,” he says. He has been teaching general science to freshmen and physics to seniors at the Academy of Our Lady of Guam for 13 years. Previously, he taught at Southern High School for four years. When friends and acquaintances ask him when he’ll retire, he says, “When it stops being fun.”

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R&R Pacific - August/September 2017  

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