2016-2017 Teacher of the Year Nominee: Michael Naka of Richard Garvey Intermediate!

by Jessica on May 10, 2017

Leading up to our celebration of our 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year Reception on May 30th we will be posting some of the nominations we received. Keep checking back to read about these amazing teachers!

Theodore nominated Michael Naka of Richard Garvey Intermediate

My science teacher, Mr. Naka, has truly enhanced my educational experience at Richard Garvey Intermediate. For changing my perspectives on the world of science as well as for always believing in and understanding me in such a unique way, he is one of the best teachers that I have ever had.

As my teacher, Mr. Naka has changed the way I look at a science classroom. In it, we are building egg drop capsules and plastic bottle cars powered only by air acceleration of a ball; we gather such data straight from our experiments on a regular basis. Experiments and projects are quizzes, tests, and worksheets. They are how we learn. And every topic that we take notes on has an experiment that goes with it. Because of this, we are constantly using key concepts (like calculating density and acceleration) from our notes and applying them in fun, engaging experiments. It is the first time that I have ever engaged in project-based learning in a science class, and it perfectly balances abstract ideas, worldly applications, and a strong element of fun into an amazing
classroom experience.

As a mentor, Mr. Naka has changed the way I look at myself as an important component in a team engine and in my own abilities as well. He has believed in me since the first day I stepped into his classroom, and later on, has guided me through many months of preparation for an event known as the Science Olympiad. He also identifies my strengths and limitations as a scientist. And once the Science Olympiad was over, he asked if I could participate in another event, Science Field Days. If he had not asked for me to participate in either event, I don’t believe I would have ever had the pleasure to participate in them. Without these opportunities, my scientific horizons would have been significantly narrower, and I would have much less enjoyed my experience in eighth grade science. I am proud to have participated in such exciting scientific events. Curiously enough, we also share some unique similarities. For example, he has a degree in geology and also enjoys gardening. I, myself am an avid collector of rocks and minerals and enjoy tending plants as well.

To conclude, I have chosen Mr. Naka as the Teacher of the Year for many reasons. Some of the reasons are as follows: Never have I had a teacher be so much like me, nor understand me in quite the same way that he does, nor support or teach me like he does. He will always by my mentor and my teacher, both of his roles being equally important to my success as a scientist.