Find and Support Your Local United Way

Smashing Van Gogh and Shakespeare

As a freshman in high school in 1995 I had little interest in school, found more interesting activities like skipping class and taking questionable substances. Eventually I was kicked out of my freshman year of high school and sent to a rehabilitation facility. My parents could not afford treatment, but the local United Way fund paid for the treatment and after about six months I was a changed person. I entered school my sophomore year, still dangerously at-risk of falling back into bad habits and losing interest in class until I met a teacher who took a creative approach to education, Mr. David Bair (Cibola High School, Albuquerque, NM). Mr. Bair taught both Art and History and he partnered with an English teacher to create a block class that reinforced education by combining an art project with historical fact and fiction. We re-enacted the Salem Witch Trials while reading The Crucible and making an art box time capsule. We learned of World War II and read old articles in Time and studied black and white photography. He engaged students of all walks of life, gangsters, jocks, and even me. He made school interesting and made learning exciting. He helped bring history and art alive. In short, he was not afraid to teach his students. We were never a number or a faceless name in roll call. I continued his block classes through my senior year. I firmly believe that if I did not have a visionary teacher like Mr. Bair I would have given up, fallen back into bad habits and maybe never made it to graduation day.

12 years after graduation I am a manager for a major national insurance company. I have four children, a home and am 2 classes away from obtaining my bachelor's in business management from the University of Phoenix. Mr. Bair was not afraid to march to a different beat if it meant he connected his students with learning. He took a risk and it's paid huge dividends. I am incredibly thankful and blessed to have experienced his class.

See more Teachers Rock! stories