Teacher of the Week Tim Hess: ‘Respect in place from Day 1’

Meet TIM HESS — a self-described car-guy-turned-motorcycle-guy and the “Marine who teaches band” at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High. “What I really try to do is I really teach leadership to the kids,” he says. “The first tenet of leadership is that you have to lead by example. As a teacher here at PBL, I’m the guy that shows up early so the kids see me practicing. I have to embody that for my students. I see people all the time going, ‘Do I as I say, not as I do.’ But you have to be the role model.” Here’s more from PBL’s 20-year band leader.

I got into the Marine band because ... I wanted to serve my country. And yet, I was a trumpet player learning how to be a musician. I’m coming out of high school like, ‘How do you combine those?’ My band director in high school was a former WWII sax musician (who encouraged me). I did 12 years active duty in the Marine Corps in the band program and then I also served with the Air Force band. It really is the best of both worlds — music is such an important part of the military. We’re the voice of the military in certain ways. And we’re the voice of our veterans.

One thing about me as an educator is ... we hear often that kids are different today. I don’t subscribe to that. The kids have been the same, it’s how we’ve treated them that’s different. I’ve been consistent. We put them through band camp and the first thing they learn is to close their mouths and open their ears. We use surnames in my classroom. We put that respect in place from Day One.

PBL was a great fit because ... the support we get here is fabulous. The school district has been very supportive of everything I do, especially when I was serving. We do a lot for our veterans — we did our vet program as an education program with the school district, but it transformed into a community program. We play every Memorial Day and we do a salute to servicemen on Armed Forces Day — we do a special concert for them. The Legion guys and the vets are so happy we do that.

When I’m not teaching ... generally, I’m on a motorcycle. I’m that crazy guy in Paxton who’s riding a motorcycle in the winter. I love all motorcycles. I was always a car guy, but we went to a family reunion and an uncle rides up on a Harley. I was like, “That’s the coolest thing ever.” I also still step out and do every local funeral — I’m the bugler. I joke with the guys and tell them that at the end of the day, I get the last word.

Submit your nominations
On Wednesdays, The News-Gazette spotlights an area educator who is making a difference in the classroom and community. To nominate, email N-G schools writer Lyndsay Jones at ljones@news-gazette.com or tweet her (@__lyndsayjones).

Categories (2):News, Education
Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County

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