Mr. Scott Chalk Wins Teacher of the Year


Mr. Scott Chalk doesn’t teach with a whistle, but he runs his AP TAG English class like a sports team. A minute for a brief explanation, and then he releases his students to work, to think — and to think creatively.

“I think a lot of [my style] does originate from coaching,” Mr. Chalk said. “When you show up for practice, it is pretty regimented or engaging. You don’t show up to football practice and the coach talks about playing football for an hour and half. [Class] should be engaging, and not a one-dimensional distributing information.”

Initially, Mr. Chalk wanted to play baseball professionally. This aspiration soon evolved into coaching. And eventually, Mr. Chalk realized his passion for teaching.

“Once I realized I wasn’t going to play professionally, then I did want to coach. I coached until I was 30,” Mr. Chalk said. “And then I guess I always loved to write and be creative, so I thought I would teach English. It just kinda worked out. I wouldn’t say providence is reaching down, but sometimes you just find it by default, even if you don’t choose, but you can be just as happy.”

Despite the transition into teaching academics, Mr. Chalk still maintains a deep respect for athletics.

“I love baseball and I love athletics, and I respect everything that coaches do and the energy that they put forth,” Mr. Chalk said. “I think they work harder than me or any teacher — anybody that does extracurricular things outside of school.”

Mr. Chalk’s deep-rooted love for sports helped him develop his unorthodox teaching style which led him to win Teacher of the Year.

“I thought the Westwood faculty has a better sense of humor than I expected. I was excited, humbled, and also kinda like ‘what are you guys doing?’,” Mr. Chalk said.

Although he earned the majority vote of his peers, he cites his fellow teachers as equally successful and deserving of this honor.

“I’m in awe of anyone, whether it’s orchestra, band, or yearbook,” Mr. Chalk said. “We all put in our hours in different ways. But it’s very humbling, and everyone’s coming around and congratulating you, and you’re like ‘for what?’ I really haven’t done anything more than anyone else.”

Ironically, Mr. Chalk still found it difficult to write the necessary essays after he received his nomination.

“Teachers nominated other teachers. I don’t know who nominated me,” Mr. Chalk said. “We write a couple of essay, like your inspiration for teaching. It’s funny because I give [my students] all this advice on essays, and then I had to write my own, and it’s like, can I email someone to help me please? And then I believe the faculty votes.”

Mr. Chalk added jokingly, “Then it’s up to an electoral college.”

Winning Teacher of the Year means Mr. Chalk can move on to receive the distinction at higher levels.

“There’s District Teacher of the Year, and you can go on to eventually meet the President,” Mr. Chalk said.

When asked what the honor means to him, Mr. Chalk replied, “It’s like winning prom king.”