Submitted by: Rachel Holmberg
Teacher: Dalton Bagley
School: Kihei Charter
Since 2017, Charter School Capital has invited written and video submissions celebrating exceptional teachers. Named the Dewey Awards—after Mr. Richard Dewey, a teacher close to our hearts at CSC—these stories speak about teachers who provided exceptional mentorship. Every year, we are flooded with a brilliant selection of stories told by students and charter school supporters all over the nation. One winner receives a gift of $1000 to a charter school of their choice. Although we only select one winner, each of these stories is worth sharing, so this week we bring you a story written by Rachel Holmberg about Mr. Bagley of Kihei Charter School.
This teacher is someone who I found real comfort and value coming to. Mr. Bagley was my 6th-grade teacher, and I am now in 9th grade, and all of the students that were in his class still talk about how much they appreciated him to this day. He was one of those teachers who was able to connect with his students and make them feel truly heard and understood. During this period of my life, I had this idea of having to be perfect, and it was very damaging. I am so glad that I was in his class during this time because he would have these talks with us called ‚” nuggets of wisdom”. Which would allow us as students, peers, and friends to discuss topics that would forever make an impact on us.
We would get the opportunity to open up to each other and relate, and this built a beautiful loving community in our class. I specifically remember seeing Mr. Bagley talking about a vulnerable topic and getting choked up. This was very impactful on me because our society tells boys and men that it’s not ok to cry and to be vulnerable, but he was willing to show us that side of him. This led me to be more open about my emotions and speak about them because I knew that there was only love and compassion in the room.
From his class, I was truly humbled, and I was able to learn so much from him and apply it to the way I think and process different things. Being part of a world that automatically wants to know who you are before you do is very difficult, and I felt that his class gave me a different perspective on myself, which allowed me to accept who I was. There were countless times where he would tell me that he was proud of me, and that would truly make me want to keep pushing forward and to do better.
I remember hurting myself really badly and I wasn’t able to go to PE, so I would go to the office and do homework, and he would sit with me if he didn’t have class, and it gave me great comfort. We would talk and it was so nice because due to having my injury I was very depressed and it was nice to have someone there who I felt truly cared about me.
At the end of the year, I had all of my teachers sign my yearbook and I was so excited to see what they were going to put, and this is what he said ‚ “An English teacher should have the words to describe the awesomeness of a student; however, you’ve completely stumped me. You are such an inspiration to me, and you’ve taught me so much more than I could have taught you. I don’t think I could be the teacher I am today without you.” Those words have stuck with, and I know they will forever. Mr. Bagley is one of the most compassionate, caring, and loving teachers that I have ever had, and truly made an impact on my life.
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