Mr. Preston is an 8th grade US history teacher who I have had the absolute pleasure of teaching on the same team for the last 5 years. Mr. Preston’s finest quality is his ability to build meaningful and caring relationships with his students. He is an absolutely incredible middle school teacher and he focuses on trying to make his classes interesting and fun. He is a leader in the school and he is always working to make what we do better. One of our students said about him, “Even if you hate school and don’t want to be there, Mr. Preston accepts you for who you are and lets you be who you are. He still cares and doesn’t give up on you though.” I have known him on many occasions to notice students who are upset and he quietly pulls them out in the hall and asks if everything is okay and asks if there is anything he can do. He doesn’t do this because he is supposed to. He does it because he is worried about them. He has taken so many of our struggling students who have lost strong father figures in their lives and he steps in as their teacher and does his best to give them someone who will follow up on grades with them and help encourage them to keep trying. He has the philosophy of teaching that if students aren’t enjoying your class then they aren’t going to learn from your class. You can ask any student if they enjoy Mr. Preston’s class and they will tell you it is one of their absolute favorite classes. That includes the students who would have previously told you that they hated history! He is able to take some of the most boring parts of history and make them exciting and interesting. For example he is teaching the Industrial Revolution now and so he designed an activity for all of our team to teach this concept. He gathered origami instructions and instructed the students to create an assembly line. The students competed between classes to make the most and the highest quality product in their assembly line. After we finished he had an amazing discussion with them on assembly lines, how they were beneficial, how they could be poorly put together. The students enjoyed the activity and were given an opportunity not to just learn about it but to experience it first hand as well. Mr. Preston is not one to sing his own praises and so he hasn’t been recognized for his efforts. On top of that because of the way he teaches often other teachers think that he doesn’t do a lot of teaching in his class. The truth however is the complete opposite. He cares about making history interesting and so he allows students to discover much of what he needs to teach in a fun, interesting, and memorable way for our students. My classroom is right next door to Mr. Preston’s and I have never once heard a day when he stood up and gave a lecture on a topic to his students. It is always something fun, and educational happening whenever possible. Our 8th grade students absolutely love his class and many have said that they remember it as one of their favorites for years to come. Mr. Preston is so deserving of this award through his hard work on our team, as a leader in the school, as a history teacher, and as a student advocate. He is one of the best teachers I have worked with in my decade of teaching.
Gayle Dowdle, 8th grade science teacher