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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

A STUDENT TEACHER

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

In a time when biology education is under attack in Kansas, Lawrence has caused more embarrassment by "retiring" a great biology educator, Stan Roth.

I am privileged to know Stan because I was his student teacher seven years ago. Stan is a teacher that should be supported, not chastised. Stan (and his wife, Jan) have put in countless hours working with students to teach them about our natural world. A typical day for Stan would find him at the school around 6:30 a.m. to start working. He might leave around 5 p.m. after helping volunteer students with paper recycling. At 7 p.m. he would be back at the school to help students study for a test. On Saturday, he would take the students who wished to go on a field trip. I doubt that many of the administrators would know this since their days are probably much shorter.

Sure, Stan has somewhat of a gruff demeanor, and yes he humorously may have called students "hooligans," but he has probably done that for years without a problem. How did he get away with it? I know it was because he truly cares for his students and their futures and most of them knew it. So why did Stan have a problem? It is because he is brutally honest and many people cannot handle that.

If you don't know Stan, I must tell you that you have lost a treasure, a man who is arguably a legend in Kansas biology education. If you doubt Stan's effectiveness, talk to some of his former students. If you don't know any, check the reader reactions at the Journal-World's website. Even students that say he was tough (and maybe even disliked him) say he was the best teacher they ever had. Look where these students are today ... many are research biologists around the world.

So why was Stan "retired?" A teacher's job is to care about students and help them learn. Stan is a fine example of what a teacher should be. Lawrence has lost a valuable resource and a great educator.

Steven Mechels,

Emporia.

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