Mr. Mispagel is a teacher we all know and love, a teacher who comes in day in and day out, a teacher who is passionate about what he teaches, a teacher who has taught elementary, middle, and high school, and a teacher who is ecstatic about drawing out our interest in history. Last spring, this outstanding teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year by the La Cañada Teacher Association.
Juniors and seniors who have had him in seventh grade, sophomores who have the unbelievable luxury of having him twice, and freshmen who have him now all rave about his vibrant teaching style and enthusiasm towards history. His ability to be a great teacher comes from his 23 years in teaching (18 in this district) and his focus on instilling a sense of excitement in his students. The key to his teaching, he said, is “being passionate about it.”
“If I come to class passionate about it, it kind of gets the students passionate about it also,” he continued.
By just his shear attitude towards teaching, he is able to transform his class into a learning environment that students can embrace and grow from.
Mr. MisPagel described his teaching style as “unorthodox.” As his students can attest to, they come into something different everyday. Short of dressing up in a funny way, Mr. Mispagel tries everything to spice up class time. He tries to set up desks differently, have a group project one day, a lecture the next, and a partner project the third. His reason for doing so is “that students don’t know what to expect; therefore, they’re getting excited about what they’re doing.” His out of the box teaching style doesn’t only show up in trying to structure class differently but also in his attempt to bring history alive. When he was teaching seventh grade history, he had a famous Japanese simulation that kids every year would be excited to participate in.
“Students like being a part of history in simulations, not being talked at,” he said. Teachers are selected for teacher of the year by votes from district faculty and fellow teachers at the high school, middle school, and elementary schools. As all of his students can attest, Mr. Mispagel is truly a great teacher, eminently worthy of La Cañada Teacher of the Year.