Mr. Bret Hendrickson’
s history and science classes are all about making educational discoveries relevant. Mr. Hendrickson wants his students to create “connections with people from the past.” He says, “I want them to understand that we are a product of those that came before us.” There is also a strong element of fun; as his classes progress through the ancient civilizations, Mr. Hendrickson gets “to play the role of supreme deity or leader, whether that’s the über god of the Mesopotamians, the pharaoh of the Egyptians, or even the emperor of the Roman Empire.” He adds, “You can’t beat that! Plus, the kids love playing along, too!”
Mr. Hendrickson came to The Academy originally as a substitute teacher. After sharing that he had earned a meteorology degree, he was invited to give a special presentation on tornadoes to the Lower School. When a Middle School position became available, Mr. Hendrickson was the natural choice. Now he finds that his favorite part of each day is “interacting with the students and watching them interact with each other.” He also strives to make “them laugh and feel completely comfortable to engage” with him as the teacher and other students as peers. He says that he loves to use any video device available to help his students become the engineers of their own learning. “Video,” he says, “is an everyday part of their lives now. Why not use it in the classroom to make learning more authentic?”
His students “worked as a production crew during the making of an Aztec documentary, worked as aspiring advertising agents while developing a commercial to sell their respective periodic elements to the public, and trained as hoplite soldiers from ancient Greece. “I couldn’t envision myself working in any other environment than the one here at The Academy,” he adds. “My colleagues are amazing, the students are a blast to hang out with and learn from, and the administration and staff provide me the
support and encouragement to tackle any random teaching idea that runs through my head. The applications are endless!” We all look forward to seeing what Mr. Hendrickson will come up with next!