Four years ago, Albion Middle science teacher Rick Krause was worried he was running out of time to make a difference in this world. Back then, he was rounding out 18 years of working in technical call support centers when he decided to quit the corporate world and go back to teaching.
“When you work with kids, they restore your faith in the future,” Krause now says about his decision to return to teaching. “Especially when you see them succeed like these kids are.”
Krause’s students aren’t the only ones who are succeeding at what they do. The Utah Science Teachers Association are giving Krause the Outstanding Elementary Science Teacher Award for his work on developing new curriculum for sixth-graders who transitioned to middle school this year. He is an “incredible teacher that engages his students in the quest of science,” his award letter says.
Krause isn't the only Canyons science teacher to be lauded this year by the association. Terry Howell, a teacher at Butler Middle, and Alicia Yost, at teacher at Eastmont Middle, also will be honored. Howell was nominated as the Outstanding Biology Science Teacher of the Year and Yost as the Outstanding Seventh-Grade Science Teacher of the Year. The three will be honored at a banquet on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.
Krause’s passion for science is a driving factor in his teaching. He taught science at Draper Elementary in the four years since his return to teaching, and transitioned with his class to Albion Middle this year as part of CSD's grade reconfiguration, which created middle schools of sixth through eighth grades and high schools of ninth through 12th grades. For him, the opportunity to teach his students more science, with a middle school schedule and resources, has been “phenomenal,” he says.
“We went from being able to teach science about 45 minutes a day three times a week to being able to teach science every day,” Krause says. “It was exciting because we got to expand all of this curriculum that was out there that we never had a chance to get to because we didn’t have time.”
One of sections Krause added with the change in schedule — and one of his students’ favorite areas to study — is robotics. The students learn engineering and programming skills and work together in groups of three and four to accomplish their objectives.
“The kids love it,” Krause says. “They are getting legitimate programming experience, and I couldn’t be happier with how well they are doing and how much they love it."