Science teacher’s ‘risks’ pay off

By Derrick Forsythe, Record Staff Writer
Posted 11/7/19

Winning awards for what he considers simply doing his job was never a driving force behind Micah Aaron’s unique approach in the classroom. And it’s why the eighth-grade science teacher was so …

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Science teacher’s ‘risks’ pay off

Winning awards for what he considers simply doing his job was never a driving force behind Micah Aaron’s unique approach in the classroom.And it’s why the eighth-grade science teacher was so surprised and humbled when the Wright City R-II Prize Patrol entered his classroom recently to announce he had been named the district’s Teacher of the Year.“I realized what was happening and I kept saying in my mind, ‘No. Not me.’ I couldn’t wrap my head around it,” said Aaron, who is in his second year at Wright City. “I don’t feel like I excel as a teacher. There are so many good teachers in this district.”Middle School Principal Doug Smith agrees that there are many worthy teachers in his building alone, but Aaron’s exceptional ability to connect with the students and get them excited about learning is an extremely valuable trait.“Kids want to be in his class and learn from him, because he has an inviting atmosphere where learning takes place in a fun, hands-on way without sacrificing expectations for what they’re doing,” Smith said.Originally a music education major, Aaron’s career didn’t even begin in science. He first taught band at Fulton for three years, before desiring a different direction.“I decided that science was more of my passion,” said Aaron, who grew up on a farm near Rolla. “That’s where my love for science came from. I spent all my time outside fishing, hunting and hiking.”After earning his certification in science, Aaron taught the subject to sixth- through eighth-graders in Auxvasse for 10 years.“That was an eye-opening time for me as a teacher,” said Aaron. “I realized I had grown up a lot more privileged than many of my students. A lot of them were raising siblings and were the ones cooking the meals. I think that really changed my role as a teacher.“Instead of somebody just imparting knowledge, hopefully I could guide them,” he said. “From then on that really became my focus — to provide quality education but also to teach life skills.”Aaron moved to Wright City prior to the 2014-15 school year to be closer to his wife’s family, where his three daughters could share more time with their grandparents and cousins.“Starting here, I quickly found that there was something special about this district,” said Aaron. “The intensity of the professional development they provide and the care they have for the teachers is great. It truly is a growth mindset here.”In terms of what makes his classroom and teaching style unique, Aaron says it’s his willingness to connect and work on building relationships.“There’s the old adage that kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and that’s so true,” said Aaron. “Letting them see you care about them as an individual rather than a number or score on a sheet is so important. I want them to feel safe and know that I truly do care about them, beyond what they learn in science.”Smith says Aaron’s charisma is what wins students over, but his teaching techniques make him a more effective instructor.“He’s able to take risks so that he’s not tied to a textbook or curriculum,” said Smith. “He knows enough stuff that he can get outside of any canned curriculum and do fun stuff that is exciting.”Flattered by the honor, Aaron says he is thankful to be working in a district that is so devoted to meeting the needs of its students.“I truly believe that the quality of teachers around here have made me a better teacher,” said Aaron. “I really attribute the honor to everybody. We all have kind of earned this.”

Wright City Eighth Grade Science Teacher Micah Aaron first-bumps a student during an activity. Aaron was recently named the Wright City R-III School District’s Teacher of the Year. Derrick Forsythe Photo.