Black inspires students to achieve

Tanner Garvin, Features Editor

Arlington is home to some pretty amazing staff and faculty.

   One member in particular, Michael Black, has made a great impact on his students and therefore has been chosen for this issue. Teacher of the Month.

     Black was selected for his kindness towards others, the enthusiasm he shows when he teaches,  and the welcoming environment that he creates for his students.

     Black has been a teacher for 16  years, 15 of which have been at Arlington. He teaches 10th grade AVID, AP European History, and World History. He also leads the African American Heritage program on campus.

     Although Black began as a mathematics major, he soon realized his love for different places and cultures when he took a break from his studies to join the Navy, where he served for six years.

    Graduating from CBU in 2000, his first job was at Valley View.  He wanted to teach at the community college level, but his time as a student teacher helped foster an appreciation for high school and seemed to be a natural progression.

     Black became a teacher because he “thought he had something to offer” and noted that it seemed like every position he was in, he was influential.

     He believes that he has succeeded as a teacher when he gets young people to start thinking in terms of success from themselves. He likes to see the evolution from not caring to taking complete responsibility for their future.

     “I think success is being content where you are but still able to seek new opportunities and learn things. Success some people would say is like having a job that you love so that it no longer feels like work,” he said.

     Black said that over the years many students have touched him. He greatly appreciates getting emails or visits from alumni.

    He even says the little things that mean so much to him like “having students drop by and feel comfortable enough to come in his classroom” or even when two students purchased a memento for him while on a choir trip.

    Black said that his goal is to try to get students to make good decisions and give a lot of thought into the decision they make.  

    However, he is quite humble about the impact he’s had on those who have taken his class.

     Ademola Alagbada, senior, who had AP European History with Black, was very thankful for the patience and understanding Black shows. He wants to “thank him for believing in me… and pushing me during my times of negative complacency.”

    Katherine Catano, senior, who also took AP Euro.,  appreciated how  “… he made me feel like I belonged though I didn’t have the best grade in his class… to this day …[he] always cares about me academically and personally; he cares about all his students well-being and is willing to put time aside for his student in effort to make situations easier.” Catano said, “[he gave me] inspiration to keep pushing myself forward in life and in my education” and she thanks him for that.

    Pantera Burlingame, senior,  who had his for World History and AVID, appreciated how he made the class feel like family and how enjoyable his class was.

     Black is even admired by his colleague, Stearns, who teaches Advanced Placement United States History.

   Stearns appreciates Black for his sense of humor. “He’s got a really dry wit. So a lot of people don’t get it, but it’s amazing,” he said.

  He also believes his compassionate nature towards his students is what makes him a great teacher. “He’s honestly, I would have to say, probably, one of the best people we have on campus.

   And while Stearns playfully chuckled denying learning anything from him. “No, I’m already the champ,” he continued to talk about how much he deserved to be recognized for all the good things he does in the lives of his students.

   She continued to thank him for “…never giving up on me and helping me reach my full potential.

    Mr. Black plays a very positive role in the lives of his student and more than earned our praise as Teacher of the Month.