The Student Becomes the Teacher

How Mr. Eckman’s experience in high school influences his teaching style

TAYLOR AUBRY

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Mr. Eckman playing disc golf

We all know teachers as the people standing at the front of the room, lecturing and trying to get as many students engaged as possible. What some students may have a hard time realizing is that these teachers have a life of their own. As hard as it may be to believe, they were once students as well, sitting at desks for eight hours a day.

Mr. Eckman, one of the science teachers here at Rocklin High School, was a high school student who participated in sports, school, thought about college, and signed up for clubs — even though he might not have gone to them all. 

High school is the time where students can experience more freedom in choosing classes. Mr. Eckman states that he “didn’t enjoy school until he got to high school. Coming out of high school, I was most curious about science, but I wasn’t exactly super excited about any of my high school classes if that makes sense, I mean I got them done and I did a good job but I was most excited about doing something like college classes.”

It’s kind of funny because as people grew up, I mean there were people that maybe I wasn’t entirely close with, but now I probably talk to them more often just about what’s going on in their life and their kids and whatnot, then I did for the last 20 years.”

When asked what it would be like teaching himself, Mr. Eckman states that he would “probably have to do all of the goofy things that I do to try to keep my own attention, because yeah, if ADD was a thing when I grew up, I would have had it, somebody would’ve noticed that I couldn’t sit still. Gotta fidget, gotta stand up, gotta move, and talk. A lot.”

Throughout high school, students are still figuring out who they are and sometimes struggle to find out where they belong. When asked about the friendships he made in high school, Mr. Eckman said “I’ll be super vulnerable and honest. I didn’t really fit into any one group, I didn’t hang out with a lot of football guys and I didn’t really hang out with what people might call the ‘nerd or geek squad’, but I had friends in all of those aspects.” 

He explains that he had a hard time knowing people because “there were only 4 people from my middle school that went on to my high school, so I didn’t really know anybody. Which was fine actually, my middle school experience sucked. So I had a really diverse group of friends that honestly changed as the years went on, it wasn’t like the same group I hung out with over and over again.”  

However, the end of high school did not mark the end of these relationships. He now says that he talks to people from his high school that he wasn’t super close with back at that time. “I mean, Facebook is kind of fun, in the way that I can check on people and see them. It’s kind of funny because as people grew up, I mean there were people that maybe I wasn’t entirely close with, but now I probably talk to them more often just about what’s going on in their life and their kids and whatnot, then I did for the last 20 years.” Now, almost 20 years later, Mr. Eckman loves being a teacher, saying that he feels a tremendous responsibility to be entertaining. I want to show people things and have them understand some science, but more than anything, I want them to think that hopefully my class is not a bad place to be, and that Rocklin High School isn’t a bad place to be. It may not be fun by all means, but there is enough fun in between that you can be in a good mood when you’re at school.”

Mr. Eckman in high school