Brian Salge is a passionate teacher of physics (AP I, II and regular physics) at Stephenville High School and was selected for this year’s Teacher of the Year award.
“I don’t feel like I deserve it honestly. There’s so many great teachers at the high school,” Salge said. “But I’m very thankful. I was surprised, and I feel very blessed. It’s really nice to wake up in the morning having the environment where I love everybody I work with.”
Salge believes in an inspirational teaching style that get his students involved and thinking in and outside of the classroom.
“I’m all about posing really good questions to my students. It’s ‘What do you think about this? Where have you seen this? And let's pull from the natural world, let's look at what we’ve seen in the real world and let’s try to start drawing conclusions,” he said. “Once we’re away from that it’s getting them to start asking questions.”
Salge compares the way his three year old son Jace thinks - curious about everything - to the mindset he wants his students to have.
"For whatever reason that curious spark is gone,” he said. “And you can blame it on the education system or that they’re just growing up, but I think that’s kind of a copout. They can still be curious if you just ask the right questions.”
When Salge first started taking physics classes in high school he was unsure of what it was. It wasn’t until he attended Tarleton State University where he discovered and fell in love with the subject.
“I just fell in love with it. You look at the study of the natural world and that’s what physics is,” he said. “Describe anything, anything in the universe, and you’re going to be talking about physics.”
The ultimate goal for his classroom is to get his students involved and have them leave at the end of the year with a personal experience with the world.
“I want them to look at the world differently than they did when they walked in,” he said. “I’ve had kids come back and say, ‘I can’t enjoy a movie anymore because I’m just sitting there thinking about how that’s not how that happens,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s awesome.’”
Salge said he’s always thinking of new ways to take physics out of the classroom and has set some goals for the high school’s program.
“My thing right now is developing the AP program in physics, focusing on trying to get more students interested in taking it,” he said. “Taking physics out of the classroom is one of the other things I really like to do, especially involving those AP kids.”
He encourages his AP students to come up with their own creative ways to engage other students who don’t take the course.
“Something so they can leave their mark and give these kids that aren’t in the course a chance to think about these things too,” he said.