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Mr. Ryan Andersen – Mountain Ridge Jr. High

I am nominating Mr. Ryan Andersen for the KSL Teacher Feature. Mr. Andersen is teaching his first year of Technology at Mountain Ridge Jr. High in Highland. Ryan in not only a great teacher, but he is also my husband and father to our two little girls. In addition to teaching and raising a young family, Ryan is attending BYU in the evenings and makes time for church service and other volunteer opportunities. He does an amazing job at balancing it all.

I really admire Ryan’s decision to become a Jr. High School Teacher. It is getting harder and harder to raise a family on teacher pay with the way cost of living, and especially housing costs, have recently skyrocketed. He could easily find another technology related career that pays more, but Ryan truly enjoys teaching and has a sincere desire to make learning fun and meaningful for his students.

I have been really impressed with his enthusiasm and have seen him spend countless hours preparing, evaluating and re-evaluating his teaching to make sure he is doing all he can to help his students enjoy learning. He applied for and received a research grant to fund his research in inquiry-based learning. I know Ryan is always encouraging his students to do their best work, not for a grade, but for the satisfaction of doing something well. He wants the kids to understand that any subject can be fun if you find a way to make it fun, so Ryan has his students base their class projects on things that they already love to do, so they can stay excited about what they are doing in school.

I was recently helping Ryan grade his students final project evaluations and was impressed at how many positive comments he received from students, Jr. High students mind you! When he wasn’t paying attention, I quickly wrote some of the comments down because I think they illustrate the kind of teacher Ryan is….

“I think I learned a lot or I should say a ton from this project. I learned how to do so many things, I would not even think of. Thank you so much Mr. Andersen. I would just like to say I had a lot of fun doing these projects. They taught me so much. Thanks Mr. Andersen for an awesome time.”

“In class Mr. Andersen always says that we can take these skills of “learning how to learn” into our lives and I really think that. I am really glad I took this class.”

“I have really enjoyed everything in this class, it has all been very neat and interesting to me. Mr. Andersen is a really great teacher. I would have to say that this has been one of my favorite classes this year. I have had fun while I was learning, and hey, can you get any better than that?”

“In this class I learned a lot and had TONS OF FUN!! So thanks Mr. Andersen, you’re a really good teacher!”

“I’m sure I would still be able to go into your class and ask for help even if I am not in that class anymore. I’m glad I learned all I did in that class and I’m sad that I have to leave. I wish com. Tech was a full year class but alas, it is not so I guess I will just have to live with that.”

“I am really glad I was able to take this class. Mr. Andersen taught us that it doesn’t matter about your grade as long as you work hard. You had to work hard to be in this class.”

“During this class, I learned a lot. I like this class because it gives me a lot of freedom. This class has been fun. I do not want to leave this class next term. I don’t know if school will be quite the same when this class ends.”

The last thing I will include in my nomination are some notes from the Principals of his school that he received after teacher observations. I think they further show what an incredible person and teacher Ryan is…

“Ryan, your students are very responsible. Whatever your strategy is of that, you should bottle it and sell the magic to traditional classroom teachers.”

“Dear Ryan, It has been such a great experience getting to know you and watching you grow as a teacher. I appreciate so much how “kid friendly” you are. The students truly enjoy your class and relate so well to you. I know it must be a challenge to teach and go to school and keep your family happy too! I appreciate your sacrifice for us and admire how well you’ve balanced it all. Thanks again Ryan for teaching and loving your students. You are great! Paula J”

-Submitted by Amy Andersen