Andy Hunsaker is the Drama teacher at Spanish Fork High School.
He has been teaching for 17 years and when asked why he chose teaching as a career he responded, “I wanted to make a difference, and being a teacher is where the rubber meets the road.”
I first met Hunsaker several years ago at a Halloween dance in the school’s cafeteria. Our family business provided the sound and lights for the Drama dance.
Walking into that gym should not have surprised me that day. Drama departments are known for their over the top props and decorations, but Hunsaker and his crew of kids had gone over and beyond anything I had ever seen.
That cafeteria was like a set right out of the Netflix show Stranger Things, right down to the alphabet wall and the old 80s couch. Watching him interact with the drama kids decorating and setting up for their annual Halloween dance gave me a little glimpse into the dedication Hunsaker puts into teaching and the respect and appreciation the kids showed toward their teacher let me see the difference he makes in his students lives every day.
Hunsaker hopes that his students remember that he was caring and provided a place for growth.
Some advice he would give parents in regards to helping their children in school is, “Don’t push them for grades, push them to love learning.”
When asked what the hardest thing about teaching during Covid-19 was he responded, “Unpredictability and kids using Covid as an excuse for not doing the regular work.” But during this year of ever-changing guidelines and struggles with teaching during a pandemic Hunsaker said he learned you either adapt or die.
Hunsaker said when asked about his favorite part of the school day, “Rehearsals…that is where we practice what we learn in the classroom.”
And his advice to new teachers just starting out, “Don’t sweat the little stuff.”
I have the special opportunity with our family business to be in many schools throughout the state of Utah. I see the difference our teachers are trying to make in our children’s lives. It isn’t an easy job interacting with so many different personalities and needs and often our teachers’ hard work goes unnoticed.
If you have a teacher in your community you would like me to highlight send your teacher spotlight requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Gibson is a Serve Daily contributor.)