ASHTON (WREX) – Travis Stauffer, a history teacher at Ashton Franklin Center High School, said he loves being with the students so much that he was ready to get back to work after winter break.
“I was ready to come back from Christmas break, ready to go,” Stauffer said.
He spent his first class back from break getting to know what his students did with their time off, whether they traveled or stayed at home, and if they did any reading over the break.
“One of the things I like to do is connect with my students, and just care about them, and a lot of times they don’t get that at home,” Stauffer said.
He said he always asks his students questions about what they’re up to, and what they’re interested in, so that they know he cares. In turn, the students tend to care more about the classwork.
“One of the reasons I try to connect with them is so that I can meet them where they are, and so that I can always bring history to where they are, and so they can make so connections,” Stauffer said.
He said he always tries to relate history to where the students are in their life, and in age. He said the students might not understand The Great Depression in terms of finance, but they would understand a person their age just trying to survive.
One of the specific ways that Stauffer gets to know his students is through “schzammers,” which are short writing sessions where students respond to a question or a short video.
Jay Long, the student that nominated Stauffer for Teacher of the Week, said the “schzammers” are a great way to vent and connect.
“He’ll read your response privately, he’s the only one that sees it, he’ll respond with his opinion, his advice or what not, so if you’re having a bad day you can vent to him, and he’ll try to console you, and comfort you, and give his own advice which is really helpful,” Long said.
Stauffer said he realized that not all students get support at home, so he wanted to give them an option to get that support at school.
“Not all students use it, but a lot of them do,” Stauffer said.
Long nominated Stauffer by reaching out to 13 WREX on Facebook and by email, and even followed up with his nomination to make sure his teacher got recognition.
“I nominated him because he’s a really good educator, he takes pride in his work,” Long said. “He’s not the average history teacher, not grumpy, mean, he’s nice and caring, compassionate. and he’s always positive, you’ll never hear him say a negative word.”