Monte Myers has been teaching math and physics as well as serving as the soccer coach at Guthrie High School for seven years, but to him, teaching is not really a job.
“Education is about learning things you don’t know. I’ve always felt like the educational system is broken. Politically we spend so much time using students as part of a game. We want high test scores and high ACT scores. I wanted to be a teacher because I felt like I could make a difference,” Myers explained. “I like teaching math because it’s black and white. You can tell when you’re right and you know when you’re wrong. The education takes place when you’re wrong. I don’t think with state testing and methods kids do enough thinking about ideas to solve problems.”
Science,Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is an important program to schools today. When Myers first came to GHS there was no STEM class, so he decided he would try to do something on his own. This is the first year GHS has offered a STEM hour class taught by Myers.
Myers was invited to attend a NASA workshop where NASA experts provided instruction in the principles of flight and aerodynamics, the science behind rocket payloads, construction and launch of Wallops Rocket Academy for teachers (WRATS) model rockets, and integration and facilitation of these activities and other NASA education resources in the classroom. After a weeklong program they launched their rockets and graduated from the WRATS Academy for teachers.
“I learned that at the flight facility, NASA launches between 25 to 50 sounding rockets a year,” Myers said. “I was privileged and honored to be one of only 160 high school teachers in the country to have ever participated in this program and bring this program back to GHS where with the support of Principal (Chris) LeGrande, we are now teaching this curriculum in the classroom.”
Myers feels that students have lost touch with why they should go to school.
“All they hear from us (teachers) is we need to pass this test, we need certain numbers, our data needs to look like this,” Myers said. “ We need to make education important to them again. If it takes my own money to go to NASA and bring these things back to teach kids and get them interested again, then I’ll do it.”
On Tuesday Myers was recognized through News Channel 9 for being an Impactful teacher and was awarded $900. It was something he wasn’t expecting, but it came as a nice surprise. His good friend Marcio White and his wife made it possible.
“It’s hard for me because from where I stand I do what I do to make a difference,” Myers said. “I don’t think it is work. It was nice Marcio took the time to let people know what I was doing. I’ve already allotted the money to buy rockets.”
One of the biggest challenges is how to fund the program. Myers has plans to expand the program so he will need to recruit funding. Those interested in the STEM program and want to donate can call or text Myers at 918-207-8357.
“I’m not going to leave Guthrie,” Myers said. “I’m committed to making it (education) better. We don’t have to like where things are at, but we can make it better.”