Orcas Island School District has hired Ryan Wilson as the new physical education/health teacher and athletic director. Ryan and his wife Rachel are Washington state natives who have been living in Pasadena, California.
The following is a Q&A with Wilson sent by the school.
Did you have a favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher would be my seventh- and eighth-grade teacher, Mr. Roberts. Mr. Roberts was a teacher that introduced a new way of learning that the students found fun and “cool.” This helped open our minds to greater thinking with a positive outlook on school and learning.
When and why did you decide to become a teacher?
I decided to become a teacher my freshman year of college because I was able to look back and realize the most impactful people in my life had been teachers and coaches.
What was your first impression of Orcas Island?
The people are incredibly kind and genuine; the people make the island.
Do you have any favorite pets, hobbies or interests unrelated to school?
My family and I love to spend time outdoors hiking, camping and fishing. Any quality time with them is the best time of all.
Tell me about your first day as a teacher.
It was in the dead of winter on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Everything for the most part went smoothly, but I remember thinking I still had a lot to learn.
Tell me about some of the friends you’ve made while teaching.
The friends I have made are lifelong friends. They understand the demands of being a teacher and the lifestyle. Many of my teacher friends I would trust with my daughter, which is the biggest compliment I can give them.
How is teaching different from how you imagined it would be?
When I first began teaching, I didn’t know the extent of preparation for every single day that is required to do a good job. The hours teachers put in outside of the classroom are extensive and regularly fall into family time and holidays.
Tell me about a time when teaching made you feel the most hopeful.
Every time a student takes charge of their life and make those life-altering health decisions, especially seeing students reach their set goals and accomplishing things they didn’t think were reachable or attainable.
What are the most challenging and/or funniest moments you’ve experienced in the classroom?
The most challenging is getting a student to a place of self-motivation to believe the extent they can actually push themselves to achieve their goals. The funniest moments typically happen when I am participating with the students.
What has surprised you most about being a teacher? Or tell me about a favorite “aha moment”?
The biggest “aha” moment would be when I realized a long time ago that to most students, I was the biggest influence in their life as their teacher and coach. This altered how I approached or thought about everything because everything I did or said would stick with something, and I want that to always be impactful and positive.
How would you like your students to remember you?
[As] a positive role model who pushed them to their limits in order to have a whole new view and outlook on life for the better.