The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) is pleased to announce that the 2018 Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) Wisconsin State Winner is Dennis Rohr, science teacher at Seymour Community High School.
NAGT was established in 1938 with the goal to improve geoscience education, emphasize the relevance and cultural significance of the earth sciences, and to disseminate knowledge to educators and the general public.
The competitive Outstanding Earth Science Teaching Award program was established in 1971 to identify, recognize and reward excellence in teaching.
The annual award is for “exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level.”
It’s an award that Rohr was not expecting to receive and the honor of it is not lost on him.
“It was definitely a shock to see my picture on the website, I’m not even the best teacher in my house,” Rohr said.
His wife, Janice, teaches Head Start classes and he said her ability to give kids positive reinforcement and redirection is inspiring.
“During the summer when we had daycare I would be her assistant, I would watch how she would redirect kids into doing something else and how she did that was just amazing to watch,” Rohr said.
The Central Section Committee of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers was particularly impressed with Mr. Rohr’s ability to involve his students in real-world groundwater research and testing, his development of summative earth science projects, including field experiences, and his work to share his lessons with fellow teachers through teacher associations.
Rohr has been teaching for 28 years, the first 10 at Marion and the last 18 here in Seymour.
The love of teaching started back in high school for Rohr who used to volunteer as a camp counselor in the summer, but the first plan was to be “the next great meteorologist.”
“I just remember those experiences and I decided in my second year of college to change my major to science education,” Rohr said.
The students that have come through his classrooms have been one of the biggest sources of joy for Rohr.
“It’s been really cool to see these students grow and learn,” Rohr said.
Along with the students, the group of teachers here at Seymour, he says, are what help inspire and help him to be a better teacher.
“I’m sort of like a melting pot of all the wonderful teachers here,” Rohr said.
He explained that from watching other teachers he’ll take bits and pieces of their methods that he likes and incorporate them into his own teaching.
Rohr also iterated that he certainly isn’t better than any other teachers, saying he’s still got a lot of room to improve.
“I’ve got a lot of students I’m still trying to help and be successful,” Rohr said.
The NAGT commends Dennis Rohr on his dedication to his students and instilling in them a passion for lifelong learning.
Dennis Rohr wins the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher of the year. – Submitted photo