EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Randy Mott, Pleasant Grove Jr. High

Jan 8, 2019, 9:05 AM | Updated: Aug 3, 2022, 2:35 pm

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The following was submitted by Koda Wagstaff.

“Mr. Mott is one of the most influential people in my life right now. He has taught me how to reach my full potential while also introducing the blessing of music into my life. But not only has he taught me the value of music. He has given our classes several life lessons and ideas to be a better person. A main idea of his is that if the students can learn something themselves, he’ll challenge us to form groups or find an answer ourselves, which has really allowed our class grow and develop an iron bond of teamwork that can’t be dissolved. Almost every class he’ll ask us a question, and expect an answer. Now, these are not easy questions. Sometimes while we are rehearsing a song, he will stop the song and ask what error he stopped for. Sometimes its obvious, but other times it’s crazy difficult. I believe that if everyone adopted his style of teaching, children would actually have to try in some classes. (not saying that no one else teaches like this, but you get it)

I know how passionate he is about our learning. I have also never seen him get tired or bored or sick of teaching. In fact, I think the only time he mentioned it was when he was telling a story about how he was getting sick of the grading system and how it almost got him to quit due to how horribly limiting it is. He removed the grading system from his classes, so we always get an automatic A. This may sound lazy, but it’s actually a very difficult thing to due. If you can just push paper assignments out and assign a number to them based on how well you did, then it becomes very easy to just let the papers teach or determine how well you taught by looking at grades. But if you remove grades, then that just shows how brave you are to trust your own students and allow them to learn at their own pace. You have to work twice as hard to keep peoples attention, since most kids at our school have the mindset of “If I get an B-, then that’s passing, so I don’t need to do any assignments at the end of the term.” This mindset limits knowledge of a subject and makes you forget it much easier. So having the courage to drop grades is very strong of him.

Mr. Mott is also a very humble guy. After a concert, he gets a lot of compliments. The class period after the concert, he always makes sure to say that the compliments should be directed towards us, not him, because he says that we’re the ones that do all the work. He strongly believes that all of us are the people that make this happen/all of us are the ones who practiced and decided to stay involved and continued to learn. And while that’s true, without him we would have never gotten to our level of skill that we’re at today. He is not only a great teacher, but a great person at heart.

Mr. Mott isn’t boring though. He’s always telling us stories of past concerts (he has a lot, considering he’s been teaching for I think 20+ years). He’s seen things go wrong and things go right, and he isn’t afraid to share his failures with the class. He is also an AVID VW bus fan, and at the end of the year when we’re all outside for about an hour on yearbook day, he plays music in his bus and encourages pictures. (almost all of the puzzles he puts down for us to work on during our breaks are VW themed). He hasn’t told us too much about them, but he’s played in a bunch of gigs as a drummer, and tells us some of those stories as well. A big thing about Mr. Mott is that his ideas are always so unique (in a good way!) and they just further excite his amazing personality.

One more kind of half thought (although it’s kind of bragging on his behalf), is how many kids he teaches at once. This is a breakdown of his classes:
-Beginning Band: Starts w/ 2 separate classes, Woodwinds and Brass, semester change unites them into Cadet Band. 2017-18 year has about 70 students in Cadet (And it’s 70 7th graders *shudders*)
-Beginning Percussion: 2017-18 year had about 50 kids, all hitting/shaking/smacking things to make noise (also 7th graders)
-Concert Band: 17-18 year had about 35-40, just the next step from Beginning (some kids are 7th, but most are 8th)
-Advanced Percussion: 2017-18 year had about 20-30 kids (8th and 9th grade)
-Symphonic Band: 17-18 year had about 45 kids, we have our own percussion(9th grade, some 8th)(this is what i’m in)
-Jazz Band: A before school class that’s only jazz instruments (no clarinet, french horns, tuba, etc.) About 15 kids(9th, 8th)
-Steel Drums: You’re not gonna see this class anywhere else really, lead, double, triple, and bass pans are used. About 15 kids(9th/8th) (also in this)

Overall, Mr. Mott is the best teacher I’ve met so far, and I can’t think of anyone else who deserves this nomination than him. He’s not a perfect teacher, but he’s close enough to satisfy me. He can be a bit intense sometimes, but that just makes him more likable. I think I’ve said enough about him, so I hope you consider this amazing teacher. And I’m sorry if this is a bit scatterbrained, I typed this pretty quickly and some words may stick out. Thanks for doing this, you’re helping teachers remember that they’re work is helping children all across the world.”

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Randy Mott, Pleasant Grove Jr. High