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Hansen Uses Science to Challenge His Students for Greatness

Posted on May 28th, 2014

2014 EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD RECIPIENT, DEREK HANSEN
College View Academy | Kansas-Nebraska Conference
Science / Algebra II Teacher

Hansen1When Derek Hansen, teacher of all things science at College View Academy (CVA), realized that students hoping to enter the medical field could benefit from additional science courses, he was eager to make the realization a reality.

But there was one problem.

Hansen was willing to teach an Anatomy and Physiology class and a Microbiology class on rotating years, but there was no space in the schedule for an additional class. Instead of counting the endeavor as a lost cause, however, Hansen decided to teach the classes in the only possible time slot available: 6:50 a.m.

“Frequently, he has classes of 10+ kids for these early morning classes,” said Brian Carlson, principal of CVA. “He frequently has students go on to college and remark that their college classes are ‘easy’ because of the way that Mr. Hansen taught them at CVA.”

Hansen3Derek Hansen has been a teacher at CVA for 11 years. He displays excellence through his ability to challenge his students intellectually and through his willingness to connect with them on a personal level.

“His students know without a doubt that Mr. Hansen is going to make them work for every grade that they get, will not accept late work, and will lock the door after a finals test has begun—so be on time,” Carlson said. “They also know that he is willing to spend countless hours helping them figure out that tricky lab assignment… and will continue to be there for them even after they graduate.”

Hansen is a strong believer in studying science outside of the classroom. His students can usually be seen out around campus studying real-world events like temperature, elevation, and acceleration.

Hansen4“He recognizes that these concepts are much more easily grasped when students can apply them to their world and is always looking for the opportunity for them to get out of the lab,” said Lori Harvey, the vice principal of finance at CVA.

Hansen tries to engages students in the learning process in various ways, the most popular being his Physics class catapult contest, an event that the entire school is invited to watch. For the competition, the Physics students build catapults and launch projectiles across the ball field, winning based on distance and accuracy.

“It is commonplace to hear a student remark that they are interested in taking a specific class mainly because it is ‘taught by Hansen,’” Harvey said. “He teaches some of the most demanding curriculum on campus, but does it in a way that makes students want to take his classes.”

Though Hansen puts much effort into learning, he does not forget to be there for the students. He frequently connects with students who are not adept at appreciating Hansen2school life, making them more comfortable in the classroom, and he took on the strenuous position of senior class sponsor for the second year in a row because he knew it would be important to the students in that class. Even after the students have graduated, Hansen makes time to help those who return asking for help with their college-level coursework. This opportunity to bond with the students is part of what attracted Hansen to the Adventist education system.

“I am able to develop relationships and help students grow in ways I would be unable to in the public system,” Hansen said. “In a public system, I would see some students for a semester, maybe two. But in our system, I am able to get to know my students over all four years, especially ones that take my class every year. This ability to develop these strong bonds makes the job entirely worth it.”

Derek Hansen’s award ceremony was on Sunday, May 25, 2014, at College View Academy Gymnasium during Graduation.

Union College Vice President of Spiritual Life, Rich Carlson,  presented the award to Derek Hansen.

This award was sponsored by Derek’s alma mater Union CollegeAAF would like to thank Union College for partnering in this year’s Excellence in Teaching Awards.

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