World Teachers' Day

By Annemarie Blanco | Oct. 05, 2015, 11:23 a.m. (ET)

"Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be." - Rita Pierson 

In honor of World Teacher's Day, here are some of your favorite Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls who also double as leaders in the classroom. 

Nate Hinze  |  Wheelchair Basketball

Middle school physical education and health education teacher

What do you enjoy most about teaching:

Being with the students everyday and learning about who they are. No two kids are the same and when you take the time to build relationships with them it is very rewarding. Also teaching them about subjects and topics like wheelchair basketball, different types of disabilities, and acceptance of other people are value lessons that they may not get anywhere else.  

Who’s the best teacher you’ve ever had:

This list would be way too long! Now being a teacher I see first hand the time, effort, and dedication that each teacher puts into their day. All of the great teachers I had throughout my education influenced me to become the teacher I am today. Their relationships and guidance showed me how important great teachers are. To them I say "Thank You!"  

John Kuzku  |  Goalball

High school math and physics teacher

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

"I do not think I could pick a favorite, so I will list a few things I really enjoy. I love making connections with young people. I show that I am truly interested in what they like and what they do. I ask questions about their hobbies and I tell them about myself. Then, when we start talking about math and science we are connected and things go very smoothly. I also love it when a student gets excited about something in my class. For example, when we are studying a particularly difficult subject such as logarithmic equations and a student is able to work through a problem on his/her own and so yells out “I got it!” That excitement always makes me smile."

Who is the best teacher you have ever had?

"Again, I do not think I can choose a 'best' but I will mention a few greats. In eleventh grade I decided I wanted to be a math teacher while I was in Mr. Schulte’s math class. I knew I wanted to be a teacher for several years at that point, but his passion and excitement for math and his students’ learning made me decide on the subject. Also in high school the band director was Mr. Popiel - he is now that Director of Bands at the University of Kansas. He lead the entire band department with very clear goals and a well defined plan. His plans were always posted and he did not allow unimportant things to affect them. I always admired his organizational skills."

Sarah Everhart Skeels | Sailing

Professor of occupational therapy at Brown University and Tufts University 

What do you enjoy most about teaching: 
"Learning through and from my students."

Who’s the best teacher you’ve ever had:
"My mom, who is also a teacher"