by David Safier
It's wonderful to see Tucson High's drama teacher Art Almquist, a man who has devoted himself to the performing arts, get People magazine's Teacher of the Year award. These teachers who spend all that time with their students in their classrooms then spend ridiculously long hours with them after school deserve the highest praise. Anyone who has seen a good high school dramatic production — play or musical — has got to be in awe of the dedication, professionalism and talent drama teachers draw from their students. It sounds like Almquist is one of the best of the bunch.
I'm not sure if any AIMS scores were improved by Almquist's teaching, though it's possible. But you know, there's more to teaching than high stakes tests that are used to hang a "winner" or "loser" tag on students, teachers and schools. There is joy, love, caring about students, introducing them to the beauty and subtleties of written language, linking them to the history of theater and acting. It's hard to measure that kind of thing by making students fill in a bunch of mulitple choice bubbles, but some of us think the intangibles and untestables matter as much as, or more than, skills that can be quantified on a standardized test.
Let's hear it for wonderful, inspired, inspiring, caring teachers. May they never go out of style.