Someone You Should Know:
From KDLT News
by Jesse Ritka
08 October 2008
Physics, chemistry, math... Three subjects that make some students cringe at the thought of them. But one teacher in Avon has turned these subjects into favorites. And while Paul Kuhlman is usually the one giving the grades, he was in Washington DC this past weekend competing for one. KDLT's Jesse Ritka introduces us to "South Dakota's Teacher of Year" in this week's Someone You Should Know.
Avon Senior Nikki DeJong says, "He has the hardest classes and he gives so much homework."
But Paul Kuhlman's math and science classes are some of the most popular in Avon.
DeJong says, "I think I've taken everyone he offers. It doesn't matter what it is, if he's teaching, I take it."
When you do the math, Mr. Kuhlman isn't your average teacher.
Paul Kuhlman says, "I just like having fun in the classroom."
DeJong says "He doesn't just lecture to you, he has all these demos and little experiments; he does all the dangerous ones like with fire."
Kuhlman says it's just another way to engage students in a difficult subject.
"This day and age, we try to have a little excitement in the class" Kuhlman says, "We try to take field trips, we go to worlds of fun for physics to ride on the rollercoasters, we take field trips in chemistry to the sewer plant, which isn't so exciting, we also went to Omaha and toured the industries with our chemistry class."
Kuhlman mixes things up through science fairs as well.
Kuhlman says, "Last year we were very fortunate, I had students that traveled to Houston, Atlanta, and Orlando, all in science fair competition."
Avon Senior Shelby Williams says, "Really, I don't think our science fair projects would go as far as they did without Mr. Kuhlman and all the time he puts in."
After sending so many of students around the nation, Paul Kuhlman finally got to enter a competition of his own in Washington D.C.
Discovery Education and 3M had their first ever science competition for teachers. Kuhlman was a finalist for national science teacher of the year. He joined four other instructors in various competitions. Through experiments, space-themed challenges and sharing their knowledge. A panel judged the teachers' performances to identify the nation's best science teacher. And though Kuhlman didn't take the title, his students couldn't ask for a better instructor.
Williams says, "I love Mr. Kuhlman, he's a great teacher I think, he just works with all the students really well and we're really lucky to have him."
DeJong says, "We're all really proud of him."
And they should be, he's South Dakota's teacher of the year. Kuhlman didn't come back to South Dakota empty-handed. He was awarded a one-thousand dollar cash prize, a competition medal, full Discovery Channel DVD sets and products from 3M to be used throughout the school year.