THORNTON - Some people are math and science people. Others just can't wrap their brains around the subjects.
Whether you're a numbers person, a words person or something else, Ed Taylor is convinced he can not only make one of the most difficult high school subjects easy to understand, he can also make it fun.
"It's so interesting and easy to set up real world problems they can solve and see immediate results," Taylor, a physics teacher at Horizon High School in Thornton, said. "I'm just a conduit here, passing along the fun of physics."
This month, Taylor is being honored as the October 2009 winner of the 9Teachers Who Care award.
After burning out in a career as an engineer, Taylor decided to move into a career in education. He's taught physics ever since, racking up 19 years of experience and countless students who adore his methods of teaching.
"It just changes the way you see the world," one student said. "All of a sudden, you're hitting a golf ball and thinking about the physics of it."
Another case in point: a lesson on velocity and the pull of gravity - using a bow and arrow. Students were asked to use formulas they had learned in class to determine the landing height of an arrow on a target, using only a bow contraption and their math skills.
"Even a millimeter difference in the pullback will have a huge effect on how far, high and low it goes," Taylor said. "There's a lot of ways you can make little mistakes that end up with very bad answers. One minus sign and you may end up with something that doesn't make sense."
Throughout the course of the day, students launched arrow after arrow, testing their latest formulas and trying to decipher what went wrong with stray arrow landings and off the wall, "That doesn't make sense" equations.
The Advanced Placement (AP) class isn't required for students, but it is highly touted and desired. Part of it is the fun that Taylor puts into it, while many other students take part as a way of jump-starting their college studies in engineering and other science-based careers.
"No matter what your background is, you can come from not being very good at math and become a wizard," another student said. "He just has an incredible way of being able to connect with his students. The way he explains everything, sometimes I go into calculus class and realize [Taylor] explains it better here than the way I get in there."
For Taylor, the best reward comes when a student walks out of the classroom understanding something they once found confusing or uninteresting.
"It's not work at all. It's pleasure. I would do it for no money at all if I had another source of income!" Taylor laughed. "I think Confucius said, 'Find a job that you love and you'll never work another day.' That's how I feel. It doesn't feel like work to me at all."
Please join us in congratulating Ed Taylor, the October 2009 winner of the 9Teachers Who Care award.
To nominate a teacher you know for the 9Teachers Who Care award, visit the 9Teachers Who Care page by clicking here: http://www.9news.com/life/community/whocare/teachers/default.aspx.
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