Bill Badger is a modern-day Renaissance man. An Ohio native, he has owned two small businesses and worked with his family. He loves the English language, writing and literature. He is cultivating a love of classical music.
In 2008, he also became a teacher. It certainly was not a stretch for him. After all, Badger’s bachelors degree from Ohio State University is in English Education. Still, he spent nearly 20 years building a plastic recycling company and then helping his father start and operate a battery testing business in his hometown of Genoa, OH.
This is Badger’s first year to share his passion for reading and writing at Marco Island Charter Middle School where he teaches sixth graders. Prior to that, he taught for three years at East Naples Middle School.
Badger found MICMS by way of the Greater Marco Family YMCA, where he headed up the Middle School Summer Camp Literacy and Math program. While there, YMCA CEO Cindy Love noticed something special about Badger. She mentioned it to her husband, George Abounader, who also is principal and CEO of MICMS, and he seized the opportunity to hire Badger.
“I accepted a position at (MICMS) over this past summer,” notes Badger. “It is proving to be the wisest decision I’ve made in a long time.”
Abounader agrees, and believes that Badger’s varied life experiences bring another dimension to his instructional methods. “Effective teachers build wholesome relationships with their students in order to successfully teach their lesson,” explains Abounader. “When Mr. Badger brings appropriate life experiences into the classroom, he develops wholesome relationships with and a readiness to learn within his students.”
For Badger’s students, this translates to success. “Mr. Badger affirms his students in many ways,” adds Abounader. “The tone in his voice and the words that he uses, as he teaches, combine to nurture his students. He has his students’ pictures and their accomplishments and goals taped to the window facing the hallway, so that people who pass by them all day long are able to see his students and what they have accomplished. If you are a student of Mr. Badger, you know that he believes in you and will do whatever he canto help you succeed.”
Coastal Breeze News sat down with Badger to find out a little bit more about one of MICMS’s newest teachers.
Q: Why middle school?
A: Middle school to me is the most critical time in a person’s life. They are still very impressionable and I can instill the qualities of a good person in them. Also, I think I will always be a middle school kid at heart. I can really connect with those kids.
Q: What three words best describe your teaching style, and why?
A: Confidence-building, patient and nurturing
Q: What are your goals for your this year at MICMS?
A: My goal is to get a gain on the FCAT out of every kid. As important as that goal is to make every kid a better person. I hope to instill many of the character traits in them that I received from my one-in-a-million parents.
Q: If you could have dinner with any five people in history, who would you have dinner with and why?
A: Any five of the great classical composers. In the last 4 or 5 years I have developed a great love for that type of music. I would really like to know the processes they used to create such full and beautiful music.
Q: What three words best describe you, and why?
A: Calming, I have a unique ability to diffuse potentially volatile situations. Encouraging, I can help people believe they can do whatever they set out to do. Decorous, somehow I always seem to know what to do and how to act in social situations.
Q: What one personal achievement are you most proud?
A: Getting that college degree. I started out kind of rough and took a couple years off, but found the wherewithal to accomplish it.
Q: Who is your favorite teacher from literature and why?
A: I think it would be Sydney Poitier’s portrayal of E. R. Braithwaite in “To Sir With Love.” That performance really struck home. I teach a really diverse group.
Q: Ann Frank once said that in spite of everything, she believed people were basically good. Do you agree? Disagree? Why?
A: Yes I do. I think it is within every human to be a good person. It is our surroundings that can change that.