Mr. Gretzinger’s School Stories

Mr. Gretzinger's School Stories

Alex Ditman

Traveling from state to state and from school to school, Justin Gretzinger has seen it all. Being a high school chemistry teacher is no easy job, but for Gretzinger, it has become a part of his daily routine.

Gretzinger is a high school chemistry teacher who has a passion for teaching sophomores about the world of chemistry.

“I moved to Keller for my wife’s family, and I also have a daughter, and I wanted her to have a good education,” Gretzinger said. “I knew Keller was a good school.”

Moving to Keller the rules and the people end up being a whole different ballpark from other areas or even states, but first impressions are the ones that make the most impact on the person.

“The students were very quiet for the first six weeks and I was actually hoping that [they] could talk a little bit more since I am used to having a bit of chaos in my class so it doesn’t bug me,” Gretzinger said. “[They] also were very pleasing and also tried to please each other.”

Different schools have features that you love and things that you like. No school, even in the same district, are the same.

“There are a lot of similarities like the motivation to go to college and want to learn stuff,” Gretzinger said. “The kids at my old school were a little out of control. They come from a very wealthy area so they didn’t look up to teachers as much as Keller kids. The first day I came here and did the survey I was amazed by the amount of kids who wanted to be teachers.”

Besides enjoying the students, every teacher comes to a school for a certain reason and it is usually because it has something that really captures their eyes and makes them like the school.

“It is a very laid back place as far as education,” Gretzinger said. “I have been at two other schools and there is not a whole lot of extra stuff that goes on and it is very teacher orientated letting me do my job and I don’t have to deal with a whole lot of extra paperwork. They embrace the fact that we can teach and be ourselves here.”

Dreams and aspirations are something that everybody wants, but it is the teachers that want something for the students.

“Success of course I don’t care what it is in, I understand that not everybody is going to be an engineer when they grow up,” Gretzinger said. “I want them to know how to follow instructions of course and attempt to try to do stuff and expand their brain. You know some people are just going to go on to work in something completely different like fashion instead of a science engineer type career so that’s perfectly normal but I just want to see the kids grow and succeed and find what they want to do when they grow up.”

When we grow up and head off to college or wherever our dreams start to set in and we realize what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Gretzinger had this very realization, and because of this is here with us now.

“When I was in college I worked at a summer camp that I did cross country camp in and then I did all sorts of other different camps and I liked working with the kids and I realized that I could transfer that into a teaching career,” Gretzinger said. “But sitting in a classroom is a lot different than being outdoors and doing high ropes course and being out at the lake doing tug of war and that kind of stuff but that’s when I thought I might enjoy teaching so then I started heading that direction.”

For a teacher you are eventually going to change how you work around the classroom and how you are going to teach a class full of students when not all of them learn the same.

“Without coaching I pay attention more to what I do in class, before I used to run around like a chicken with my head cut off,” Gretzinger said. “I did not have enough time to even prepare for class, so now I definitely prepare. As far as methods of teaching I have changed a little bit here and there, you know it is slow roll for me to change what I do, it takes a little bit of time to adjust to new things.”

Speaking of change, adjusting schools can be a big deal and dealing with students can be a bit of challenge for some.

“The biggest struggle in chemistry is putting down your phones, if you all could just put them down and pay attention then chemistry would be pretty easy.”

Being a chemistry teacher has some advantages, especially when it comes to knowing the periodic table and what all the elements make when mixed together, as well as choosing an element that fits your personality.

“I would like to be carbon because I can be turned into a diamond.”

Everybody has something outside of their job that they do to occupy their time and you would think that teachers spend all of their time grading papers and creating lesson plans for the students. For Gretzinger, he still holds dear his camping and outdoor activities for fresh air.

“In my spare time I enjoy camping, fishing, being outdoors, and triathlons. I really like to be outside.”

Being a teacher is a huge task but as you can tell the world of teaching can you leave you feeling like you have done well in the world. It may have bumps in the road, but what job does not?