The following was submitted by Chantilly Park.
“Mr. Park teaches 6 subjects: Student Government, Creative Writing, Science Fiction Fantasy Literature, Junior English, and Japanese 1 and 2. He is also the Student Activities Director.
He has been teaching for 20+ years at Timpanogos High. He loves his job and fellow faculty members. He loves and respects his students. He has lesson plans and homework that help the students grow in many ways. In Creative Writing, there are assignments that require introspection and coax the students out of their comfort zones. They learn about themselves as well as the world around them.
In his class, they laugh, they cry, and they bond with each other.
Each year in Creative Writing, they visit a Kindergarten class and each high school student is paired up with a Kindergartner. The high school student interviews the Kindergartner. The assignment is to create a hardcover book (with text and illustrations) with the Kindergartner as the main character, and then to return at a later date and present the book as a gift for the Kidnergartner. This means a lot to the Kindergartner, and represents a many-hour project on the part of the high-schooler.
Mr. Park is also the author of a fantasy adventure series. So when the students complain about a 2-page assignment, he shows them his recent 768-page manuscript and they stop complaining. He leads by example and teaches from experience.
In Student Government (student council) he teaches leadership skills and provides opportunities for each member of Student Government to lead, serve, and problem-solve. He also fosters a culture of service where the top priority is serving and getting to know fellow classmates. Service, not pride, is associated with the wearing of Student Council sweaters. Anytime a classmate or classmate’s parent passes away, you can count on Student Council attending the viewing while wearing their sweaters to represent Timpanogos High School.
Students also feel like they can talk to Mr. Park on a personal level. They can confide in him. Many times, former students will tell him that he is their all-time favorite teacher.
His classroom feels like a teenage boy’s Man Cave. There are taxidermied pheasants, deer mounts, Star Wars posters, metal signs from various travels, etc. His classroom is visually interesting and well-organized. There is also pool table for students to come use during lunch if they’d like.
He also gives students credit for working hard. If he can tell a student is trying their best, they’ll pass his class. He understands that English class may be hard for some, but if they give it their best effort, they’ll still be learning something and will pass the class.