The Apache Pow Wow

Thank you, Mr. Eldridge!

Anonymous, Paul Lee

“Walking into Mr. Eldridge’s classroom, one can hear him bonding with other students while others are socializing with each other. Seeing such a pleasing scene of everyone communicating with each other, one can escape the pressure that one has received from other classes. Mr Eldridge is a teacher that is constantly building bonds with his students. He would talk to his students initiatively, taking care of students not only on their school work but also on their health. He would advise students who were often tardy or lose focus in class to pay attention instead of yelling at them or ignoring them. He is very friendly and generous as he provides a stationary kit for each group just in case someone forgot to bring one’s essentials. Students can even use his fridge when he isn’t even here!

He is the type of teacher that explains the basics and let the students interpret the assignment by themselves. Most of the time, students would have to annotate the passage and discuss with their group members, rather than him giving a lecture. At first it might be hard to follow along because underclassmen often have to listen to the teachers and follow directions, but he introduced the new upperclassmen to a more mature classroom setting that requires self-discipline, which will be very useful for future education. The weekly vocab quizzes and the personal dictionary seemed challenging and irrelevant to the class, but it does help students enrich their vocabulary lists and become more educated. He does not have a lot of reading tests or essays that pressure students to study; rather, he cares if the students are doing what they are supposed to do and learn from his assignments. This method makes his class very enjoyable because his class becomes a refuge for students because they don’t have to constantly think about their English grades and they can simply learn.

Mr. Eldridge is a very kind teacher who is very trustworthy. He listens to his students’ concerns and evaluates the problem calmly. Then he guides them through the uncertainty. He provides a whole new perspective for everyone to think of and personalizes the solution for each student, since one cannot live one’s life for other people but one’s self. He will not ignore anyone just because they are not in his class anymore. In fact, he does the opposite! He will arrange time for anyone, even his past students, and will support them with his advice and caring nature.

Because of his outgoing characteristic, he would open up timid hearts, and would indirectly encourage shy students who might need help to approach other teachers and seek help. He provides a platform for students to express their feelings and establish a comfortable relationship with teachers!”  —Anonymous, Pow Wow

“Sarcastic, passive-aggressive, and erratic are my honest first impressions of Mr. Eldridge. However, I eventually came to realize that these are all fabricated lies I created to explain his uniqueness. My contempt for him gradually lessened after I adapted to his unique way of teaching. Although Mr. Eldridge has only been my teacher for a few months, he has become one of my favorite and most influential teachers.

First of all, Mr. Eldridge is really caring. He not only offers second chances in terms of dropping assignments but also conducts personal conferences with his students for them to enhance their skillsets. He treats his student with . . . love? Never have I ever encountered a connection so strong between a teacher and his students. When Mr. Eldridge first reprimanded me for being disorganized, or the time when he first castigated me for my angular and unreadable handwriting, I was generally upset and ignored what I perceive to be personal attacks. Suddenly, I realized that his “attacks” were actually signs of love and care. By pointing out his students’ flaws, he encourages them to become better people. Not to mention, his affectionate smile creates a very open and welcoming environment in the classroom. Every week, he dedicates time for a community circle. The community circle is therapeutic as it allows students to express their familiar stress and frustrations, thus building a strong community of students from insular individuals.

His commendable personality, however, only shows a glimpse of his magnificence. He is magnificent for his teaching method. He facilitates self-learning through reflection. Reflection allows his students to personalize their studies, make applications of what they learned in class, and think of ways to improve for the future. Reflection gives meaning to his assignments. Whether it be in essays or situations outside of the classroom, everything his students do in class becomes a valuable lesson. Furthermore, his teaching is not strictly grounded in the AP curriculum. Instead, he presents psychological concepts such as Occam’s Razor and Confirmation Bias to explain phenomena in both literature and everyday life. Mr. Eldridge also displays a strong sense of patience. No matter how many times his students fail to answer his questions, he always encourages deeper learning by guiding them towards the right answer. Moreover, he has never failed to remind me of the benefits of sleep and organization. Unlike most other teachers, he has taught me lessons beyond the scope of formal education and that’s why I appreciate him.

It is still difficult for me to fully comprehend all of the benefits from Mr. Eldridge’s abstract method of teaching; nevertheless, all I can say is, I like it. Mr. Eldridge has opened my eyes and widened my perspective. He allowed me to doubt myself and see my flaws, then motivated me to resolve such limitations. Overall, he made me into a better person. Thank you, Mr. Eldridge.”  —Paul Lee, Pow Wow, Writer

“When I wrote a teacher appreciation article on Mr. Eldridge last year, I wrote mostly about how his lessons are structured and what goes on inside his classroom. That article simply did not do him justice. He is one of those mythical teachers that graduating seniors remember fondly and incoming juniors hope to see on their schedule on the first day of school. And in the four or so years he has been at this high school, he has built a reputation that precedes him.

Every year, there are rumors that Mr. Eldridge’s class is a walk in the park. And I agree. It is a walk in the park. He teaches you how to take those walks in the park. He teaches you how to let go for a bit, how to relax for a while to detoxify all the stress of school. He teaches you how to take a step back and breathe, just breathe. This lesson that Mr. Eldridge teaches throughout the year isn’t just a lesson; it’s a skill that lasts a lifetime.

Another defining feature that separates him from the rest of his field is his relationship with his students. He does not treat you like just another one of his ninety or so students he has throughout the day; he sees individuality and encourages it. He does not want everyone to approach questions the same way or discussions with the same opinion; he appreciates conflicting viewpoints. Mr. Eldridge worked with me and many of my peers in one-on-one conversation, honing our ideas and our writing.

And in this way, Mr. Eldridge became a friend to many of us. Everyday, he laughed with us and understood us. He found common ground in discussing current events and teenage fads. He talked with us more than as a teacher, joking with us as well as poking fun at us. But he still enlightened us. Mr. Eldridge always weaved English lessons with lessons on life and skills to carry with us. With Thoreau and Emerson, we learned about how authors can intertwine two, three, four, multiple meanings in a single sentence, but we also learned how to live life with morality. With the Crucible, we learned about irony, but we also learned that living through fear is no way to live. Mr. Eldridge not only taught us, but befriended us as well.

As for me, Mr. Eldridge’s class became a major influence in what I want I want to major in in college. His class, undoubtedly, opened my eyes to liberal arts in an environment dominated by talk of engineers, lawyers, and doctors. So for all the lessons he has taught me and my path that he helped shape, I give my honest thanks to Mr. Eldridge.”  —Anonymous, Pow Wow

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Thank you, Mr. Eldridge!