At this year’s staff awards breakfast, on June 4th, Mr. Levin was named teacher of the year. This being his last year teaching classes at Buena, he is going out with a bang; except that he’s not exactly going out. In fact, Mr. Levin will be Buena’s librarian starting next year. He will be taking Mr. Gonzales’ place alongside the many rows of books, maintaining his passion for literature and his loyalty to Buena.
Students, some whom voted him teacher of the year, obviously noticed something effective in his teaching style. Junior AP English student Jenny Allen remarked, “He is creative and he knows how to interact with us. I’m really glad that I got to have him before he moves to the library.”
His approach is not only noticed by students, however. His fellow teachers can see that something has been working as well. “He wants to make sure that all doors are open to all kids,” commented Levin’s former teacher and present colleague Mrs. Beal, “and he’s willing to work with them to help them achieve success –not only in the classroom, but in their lives.
“The big thing I’ve learned,” Levin remarked, “is that students will always surprise and amaze you. The more we expect from students the more success they’ll see.” Levin said that although he’ll miss the classroom (well, everything but the hours of grading and lesson planning) he’s also anticipating the change. “I’m really going to miss the students,” he stated, “no daily interactions, no daily lesson plans, but I’m exited to do some behind the scenes magic.”
Levin plans to bring the same attitude and creative spark to his work in the library. Apparently he’s been looking up events that other libraries have held in the past, in order to find ideas for Buena. In one such event, he spoke of excitedly, a library in Massachusetts held a three-day reading marathon of Moby Dick. “There are a lot of really cool things you can do,” Levin smiled, “I’m excited about doing more events.” He’ll also have increased time to deal with more official business. “I’ll have more time to work on the school’s WASC report,” said Levin, “I’ve been working on that for the past year but it’s really time consuming.”
When our teacher of the year was asked why he decided to switch to the library, he replied, “An opportunity like this only comes very few and far between. If I weren’t to jump on it, I might regret it. I’m entering a new phase of my life where I’m ready for a new change, for new challenges, for things that will push me as a person and as a teacher.”
Levin, however, wouldn’t have wanted to go be a librarian at some other school because, he said, “I’m a bulldog through and through. The only reason I’m doing it is that I can stay at Buena.”
After learning of his award, Levin simply stated, “A teacher is only as good as his students, and I’ve been very blessed to have so many fantastic students.”