Mathematics teacher Aziz Zahraoui has won Churchland High School’s Teacher of the Year Award for school year 2016-2017.
Teachers of the Year are setting the standard for how teachers should do their jobs. Everyone has a teaching style, but the goal is the same--teach the students as much as possible. With his Teacher of the Year award, Zahraoui met last years standard and set the one for next year.
Zahraoui is a very modest person, giving credit to teachers who could’ve won.
“I was absolutely surprised. There are so many great teachers around. Any day of the week, I would pick five or six to win other than me. I appreciate that some people thought of me as that, but I think they’re more of a Teacher of the Year than me.”
Zahraoui teaches AP Calculus and Geometry, which he says he’s lucky to be teaching because he appreciates that conceptual thinking is required. Coming from an engineering background, he’s always looked at math through an applications standpoint.
“I grew up being good at [math]. I’m an engineer by trade. This is not something I trained for. In my training, math was always there.”
Just like our teachers notice things about their students’ minds and personalities that they don’t, he had one teacher that did that same thing for him.
“When I was in high school, a teacher approached me and he looked at me and said, ‘I see you more as a humanities kind of person.’ And teaching kind of falls under that. I could see that he saw something I didn’t.”
Like most teachers, he has a quote he tells his students: “Opportunity favors the prepared mind.”
“A test could be hard; it could be easy,” he says. “When it’s easy, my mind is prepared. If you don’t prepare at all, I could give you a really easy question and you won’t be able to answer it at all.”
To some people, calculus sounds like torture; to others, it sounds interesting and something they want to learn. Zahraoui’s students don’t really give him any flack about what he’s teaching.
“I appreciate that [the students] show up everyday, they look at me and listen. They say, ‘Okay we’ll do this for you. We don’t quite get it, but we’ll do it for you.’”
Zahraoui is a teacher who loves and appreciates what he teaches and that makes his students want to learn and do their best. That’s all you can ask for in a Teacher of the Year.
Photos: Elijah Macklin