Opinion: Students demand voice as teacher of the year is let go

Feature Photo By: Alivia Lee- Mr. Brecht reads to his 6th period class. Many students were disappointed to hear that Brecht’s contract was not renewed and will not be returning to Rangeview for the next school year. 

Editor’s Note: This is an open letter written by the Raider Review’s editor in chief regarding the recent termination of Mr. Brecht, who was voted the 2017 teacher of the year. This letter is not addressed to anyone in particular and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Raider Review. 

By: Alivia Lee, Review Staff

To Whom it May Concern,

To say the very least, I am disappointed. Disappointed not only in your decision to let go of one of Rangeview’s best teachers, but disappointed in your selfishness and your lack of regard for the Rangeview community and future Rangeview students. The dedication and work ethic of all the Rangeview staff is something to brag about, but one teacher in particular, Mr. Brecht, consistently goes above and beyond to provide the most for both his students and athletes.

If you have ever seen Brecht actually teach then you would know that he is one of the best English teachers at this school. I have been Brecht’s student twice throughout my time at Rangeview, once my sophomore year and now my senior year, so I believe that it is safe to say I have a fair opinion on Brecht and his teaching. Brecht cares more about teaching his students to love and appreciate literature and English, than pointless test scores; he cares more about his students’ well being, than a late essay; and many would agree that Brecht cares significantly more for the Rangeview community than those behind the decision to release him.

I am a senior with less than a month left at Rangeview, so perhaps you wonder why I care so deeply about this topic. It is because I care about Rangeview and the education of others. It is so completely unfair for you to take away one of the greatest English teachers from future generations of RHS students. It is unfair for you to take away some students’ only support. It is unfair for you to not give us a real reason as to why.

“What makes a teacher good? And how is anyone not in the classroom allowed to say what is wrong and what is right?” said student body president, senior Darlenne Guerra.

The teaching evaluation system is flawed, everybody is aware of that, but hundreds of students can testify to Brecht’s teaching abilities and the impact he has had on his students. Upon hearing about Brecht’s dismissal, Twitter blew up with support for Brecht.

Here are a few of the tweets from Rangeview students:

  • “Mr. Brecht has made such in (an) impact at Rangeview. We’re losing a great teacher, basketball coach, and student
    Former and current students went to Twitter to voice their opinions over the letting go of Mr. Brecht. Many students shared negative feelings towards Brecht’s dismissal. (Alivia Lee)

    leadership sponsor.” (Senior Steven Thai)

  • “Well, we aren’t. We got the opportunity to experience his (Brecht’s) greatness all four years. Rangeview, however, is losing the BEST teacher there.” (Senior Lexi Duran in response to Thai)
  • “No matter who you are, if you ever had a conversation with Mr. Brecht you just know how amazing he is.” (Junior Jessica Gondek)

When it comes to a teacher’s ability and effectiveness, does the student’s opinion not matter? Students spend about five hours a week with a teacher whereas evaluators often spend less than 10 hours a (school) year observing a teacher and his abilities. Though many students can agree that Brecht is more than qualified to teach at Rangeview, he brings more to Rangeview than just a deep love of literature and teaching.

“He (Brecht) has guided us through homecoming, prom, and everything,” said junior Lizzie Stacks. “He exudes positivity while being realistic. I remember bonding with him at a homecoming workday and realizing that he might be my favorite teacher.”

During Brecht’s time here he found a family, not only in the English department, but also in Student Leadership. Every homecoming, Brecht has made efforts to go above and beyond to contribute to the success of homecoming, all while tending to the needs of his students.

I know for a fact that I am not the only student that believes Brecht is more than qualified to teach at Rangeview and is one of the most involved and dedicated teachers in the school — Brecht has coached two sports while at Rangeview and was even named the 2017 teacher of the year.

While there is not much that can be done now, it is important to use this as a learning opportunity. For example, in CCA classes offered at Rangeview, students conduct teacher reviews and, though they usually do not weigh heavily, they can make the difference between deciding if a teacher is “proficient” or not.

In terms of teacher retention, the students should be given a voice — they are the ones that spend a minimum of five hours a week with the teachers, compared to the limited amount of time evaluators have to spend with each individual teacher. Whether it be through surveys or just talking to a large variety of students, a voice needs to be heard to prevent losing some of the school’s best teachers. Rangeview needs to work towards a future where it is not letting go of some of its best teachers.

 

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