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Inspiring Teachers: Chad Gibson

Meet Mr. Gibson, Weiser Middle School shop teacher and our first choice for the Inspiring Teachers series featured on Living in the News .Com.  Chad Gibson grew up in South Dakota, which he calls God’s country, near the Black Hills.  While he misses it terribly, Gibson left South Dakota in pursuit of a job as a teacher, finding himself in Wyoming.  In 2018, Gibson and his wife accepted teaching positions for the Weiser School District.  Having never been to Idaho, they decided to just go for it and jumped at the opportunity.

Gibson did not originally plan to go into industrial arts education but was encouraged by his former principal as well as a good friend of his that was a welding teacher at the time.  Gibson decided to give it a try and fell in love.  He has now been a shop teacher for 6 of his 7 years as an educator. 

Now teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, Gibson loves to see his students grow and develop as they learn about tools, techniques, problem solving, and creating something unique.  He explained that sixth graders have their first experience with shop, and it can be a bit overwhelming for them.  Seventh graders tend to be his favorite group of kids because they are still so impressionable, not yet top dogs of the school, and are still excited to learn and be creative.  Eighth graders have experience behind them and really get to focus on building their skills even more, with well thought out projects and skilled techniques.

Each year, Gibson’s classes work on three or four special projects that vary from year to year.  Some of the projects students in the past have worked on have been quite impressive, he shared.  One student worked on a waving American flag woodworking project.  Another student created a flag inside of a box with special lighting to illuminate the American flag.  One project was a concealment box disguised as a picture on the wall. Picnic tables, sound amplifiers, and birdhouses are also some of the special projects done in shop class.  Gibson also encourages students to learn different techniques.  For example, one project was focused on an old popular toolbox that was made in the 1950’s in Japanese history, which adds more depth to the learning experience with the history aspect.

Eighth grade shop class is one that students can sign up for, which normally turns out to be mostly male students.  However, Mr. Gibson said that some of the greatest projects he has seen created in his classroom were by females.  He strives to encourage both males and females to explore industrial arts as a potential career path in the future.  One particular student that sticks out in Mr. Gibson’s mind was a timid girl who came to him scared and wanted to quit shop class.  She was overwhelmed, shy, and really struggled in class.  Gibson encouraged her to stick it out and try her best.  By the end of the year, this apprehensive, fearful student had gained confidence, collaborated with another female student, and started an extensive project.  The two girls crafted a herringbone side table in the shape of a trapezoid which turned out beautifully, was entered into a fair, and won several awards!  Mr. Gibson was incredibly proud, and I imagine so was the student who didn’t give up after he encouraged her to try her best.

Mr. Gibson is also a wrestling coach for the Weiser School District.  He has been coaching for about 8 years, and prior to that, he was involved in coaching through high school and college.  Gibson joked that people could spot him by his brown (not gray!) beard and glasses; likely the coach in a weird or awkward pose that his students heckle him about later.

When asked how the pandemic and restrictions have impacted his teaching, Gibson replied that he just takes things day by day and does what he can to be a great teacher who helps create a fun experience for his students.  Normalcy is what is needed for the kids these days and Gibson strives to provide that safe space for his students to learn, grow, and explore their talents.

Superintendent Wade Wilson spoke highly of Mr. Gibson, saying, “Chad has incredible energy and passion that transfers to everything that he does as a teacher and as a coach.  His energy and passion are contagious and reflect in his students and in his athletes.  There is an old saying that ‘bigtime is where you are at!’ and Chad makes things that he is involved in ‘Bigtime!’ ”  Wilson also shared his appreciation for Gibson for always looking to do more for his students and promoting their accomplishments along the way.

In conclusion, Mr. Gibson wishes to thank the community for their involvement and the support everyone has given to the school district and specialty programs like shop.  He also extends his gratitude to Western Timber for their support in supplying lumber, Idaho Lumber for their yearly donation, and the school district staff for being incredibly supportive.  The grant coordinator at the high school has been extraordinary at acquiring funding for tools and projects, and Gibson offers his appreciation to the CTE director and programs as well.  Without the backing of so many incredible people, Weiser Middle School wouldn’t be able to sustain a great program.  Extra funding for special projects is always a need, and Gibson is appreciative and grateful for everyone involved in making this a success.

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