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History teacher challenges students to link future to past

Teaching takes a lot of heart, and in Chad Cryer’s case, that statement has an even deeper meaning. The AP United States and IB 20th Century History teacher recently underwent open-heart surgery in the fall of 2010. After seven years of teaching at Bryan High, it was an adjustment to return to the classroom after such an experience.

After returning to the classroom, Cryer says that he has become more laid back and appreciative.

 “I’m beginning to appreciate moments more,” Cryer said, “and I see the value of small things as apposed to the frustration of everyday life.”

What Cryer appreciates most about teaching history is the broad impact it has on each student.

“The fact that you live in [history], the concept that everything that we teach about has a connection to every individual in the classroom [is what attracts me to history],” Cryer said. “Regardless of the diversity, it has affected everything we know of today.”

Although history has become a passion for Cryer, it wasn’t the occupation that he first pursued.

“I originally intended to begin coaching, but I found out that it was difficult to teach and coach at the same time,” Cryer said. “Everything I liked about coaching applied to the classroom as well. You get teamwork, leadership, and camaraderie.”

As one of the most well-regarded history teachers at the school, students and faculty alike see Cryer as dedicated and compassionate about his work.

“He works way harder than any other teacher I know,” junior Molly Wise said. “He dedicates a lot of time to the way he teaches. One of the things that makes me appreciate him so much is his devotion to students. He’s offered to get here at 6:00 in the morning so I could study with him, that’s extreme devotion to your students, and what they’re learning.”

History department head, Ruth Whiteley agrees and believes Cryer will continue to adapt and grow as students’ needs change.

“He is very knowledgeable,” Whiteley said. “He understands what a good teacher is, and the work it takes to continue to be a good teacher. He certainly cares about the students, not only as an individual, but as a student in concern for their academic success not just in high school, but also as they get ready to go to college.”

His knowledge of the subject, and his dedication to it allow him to push his students to value their individual thoughts.

“He really expands and challenges you, and kind of forces you to see every side [of an issue],” Wise said. “I think that’s how he helps people get an idea of how they need to develop an opinion or a view of something.”

Senior Emma Howard likes the innovative ways Cryer integrates real-life examples into the curriculum.

“He presents everything with all the different sides, he doesn’t just teach from one perspective,” Howard said. “He makes connections to other events too.”

Cryer enriches his students through his lessons, and hopes they will take what they’ve learned to new heights.

“My overall goal would be for each and every individual student to understand that their life has a huge effect on the future of the world,” Cryer said. “[With] every decision that each individual makes, history is being written as they make those decisions.”

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