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  • Writer's pictureManu

Exit Interviews: Mr Nickel

It is the end of the school year which means that we will soon have to say goodbye to a few of our favorite teachers. This year, 5 middle school teachers are leaving or moving out of the middle school. Over the final weeks of school, The Direct Message will post an ‘Exit Interview’ that we conducted with each of these educators.

Check out all the Exit Interviews by clicking here: Exit Interviews

How many years you have been at AES and what were those years:

I have been here 2 years and in those years I have dubbed "The Age of Disruptions".

What will you miss most about AES?

I'll definitely miss cheering on our students at all the after-school and weekend events. It's been a privilege witnessing their achievements and growth.

What is the best part about being a teacher at AES?

Having a fantastic team of 8th-grade teachers has been a true highlight. In fact, all the teachers here are phenomenal. The support staff are top-notch as well. I deeply appreciate everything they've shared and done to make AES such a positive environment. Being a teacher at AES has also led to some great conversations with parents during games – something I might not have experienced otherwise.

What are your plans for next year and what are your thoughts about this next step?

I'm fulfilling a lifelong dream to live and work in Japan! I'll be the Middle School Principal at the United School of Tokyo (UST), a school founded by my parents. UST is a smaller school serving Pre-K through Grade 8, with a strong philosophy focused on a holistic education. Their approach emphasizes problem-based learning and fostering a service-oriented mindset, allowing students to address individual needs and contribute to their communities. My initial plan is to work in Japan until my son reaches high school (then to reevaluate), keeping his needs at the forefront. Currently, he's passionate about both engineering and violin making Japan an excellent fit! As his interests evolve and our family needs, so will my long-term plans.

How do you hope your students and colleagues will remember you?

Honestly, just being remembered would be a testament to the impact we all strive to make.  With so many experiences happening throughout the years, memories often take unexpected turns. I do hope I'm remembered fondly, perhaps for the stories that brought lessons to life, my enthusiasm for food (bacon!), the crazy tales from my time working with liquid nitrogen back in the US, or even just my dedication to getting things done behind the scenes.

What message would you like to leave for the community at AES?

We're here to empower the next generation to be even better than ourselves, and that means always striving to do the right thing. It won't be easy or popular (though a good team helps :), and there will be challenges like people, life events, or hardships. But trust your gut and choose what's best for the community, your family, and future generations.

And now, a few words from Mr. Nickel's students:

Leah 8th Grade:

What will you remember about this teacher?

I think I will always remember how Mr. Nickel always pushes us to exceed our limits by giving us interesting assignments in ways that I would have never imagined. I personally think that the shark tank summative project was very creative and intriguing.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about this teacher?

One memorable story I have about Mr. Nickel is how I entered his classroom on my first day of school because I had his class first thing in the morning and wasn't sure where to go. The moment I entered, he asked me different questions about what I had learned related to science at my previous school and immediately started explaining the DSN system to me. It was a lot to handle at 8 AM on my first day of school, but I think it helped me a lot.

What makes this teacher unique?

I think the quality that makes Mr. Nickel unique is the way he makes many jokes during class and tries to engage with students in a more youthful way. Not only this, but his love for bacon as well.

Oakes 8th Grade:

What will you remember about this teacher?

I will remember Mr. Nickel for his teaching style and the way that he taught us and encouraged us to do a little better than we thought was good. He would also not always teach for the full lesson and ramble sometimes just about stuff he loved or what was on other people's minds.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about this teacher?

One memory that I have of him from this year is that he would always watch or try to watch ASIAC and some MESACs that his students were participating in. I really liked it when, one time, our advisory was with him, and he showed us the video from WOW last year and shared his experience to get us ready for what it might be like.

What makes this teacher unique?

I will really miss Mr Nickel because he was/is one of the unique teachers that I have had in middle school, and I think it will stick with me because of the way he taught us and his commitment to making us better humans and better learners.

Aum 8th Grade:

What will you remember about this teacher?

I will remember his love of bacon.

What is a funny or memorable story that you have about this teacher?

A memorable moment I had with him was WOW when we talked about different types of rocks. He was one of my favourite people this year. 

What makes this teacher unique?

He is unique because he was my only 8th-grade science teacher.

See more stories from #Manu & Hyunseong

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