Best of Mesa 2014: Middle school teacher's work is a sacred honor - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Best of Mesa 2014: Middle school teacher's work is a sacred honor

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Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:05 pm

Commanding the respect of Christ the King’s middle school math students comes easily for “Best Middle School Teacher” Pat Curry. A career as a U.S. Navy commander prepared him for that.

“I have high standards for the students. I’ve gone into this with the belief that students need to be challenged,” said Curry, who considers teaching as his second life.

With a degree in electrical engineering, Curry’s first foray into the classroom came via the English department. Many of his subordinate officers had “terrible writing skills,” so when he got out of the service, he decided to become part of the solution, training future generations to read and write. He always liked math, though, so it was natural for him to gravitate toward the subject he teaches, along with vocabulary and religion, to fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Christ the King.

“It’s important to set an example for students, and I think that’s that what kids can take away: not just the math skills, but the professionalism,” he said.

Staying “one step ahead” of his students is hard work, but Curry tries to connect with them and what they’re going through at home and school.

“A lot of people will tell you you’re nuts when they find out you’re teaching middle school, (but) it’s the age group where a teacher has the most impact on a student’s life,” Curry said. “That’s why I do it. I consider it an honor and a privilege."

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