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Mr. Palmer Selected as February Teacher of the Month

Each month, Cal High’s students vote on a teacher of their choice from an academic department of the staff’s choosing. This month, that department was social studies and the students voted for Mr. Palmer. 

Palmer has a wide impact, teaching U.S. History to both Business Academy and Culinary Academy students, as well as AP U.S. History to juniors on campus. While he has eleven years of teaching experience, Mr. Palmer did not always know that he wanted to be a teacher. 

“I started college as an engineering major because I really loved math and science,” Palmer says.

However, “There was a class that really challenged me to work with other like minded engineers and it was one of the hardest experiences of my life,” he added. 

After reconsidering his career plans, Palmer remembered how much he enjoyed tutoring his friends in math, leading him to join Humanities Out There—an organization in which college students visit high schools to promote higher education.

One of the first programs Palmer was able to participate in through Humanities Out There was focused on teaching history to tenth graders. He says, “It was there that I realized that I think I want to do this. It made my heart feel really good.”

Palmer uses various strategies to actively engage his students. One new method, that he accredits to Cal High’s math teachers, is using vertical white boards. 

“I have them work out arguments and claims together on a white board as opposed to just having them talk in their small groups, which is what I would normally do for the past ten years,” he adds, “a good day for me is seeing students interact with the material with one another.”

When asked about one of his funniest or most embarrassing moments as a teacher, Palmer responded: “just any time you give a freudian slip.”

“I remember one of the first times it happened. It was discussing Teddy Roosevelt’s foreign policy—big stick diplomacy—and I used a different phrase and it was quite embarrassing but it was a good laugh for the students. I’m pretty sure they never forgot about that foreign policy for a while.”

“There was two years ago where I faced off against Mr. Reagan and that was a good moment, being in a sumo suit and I’m sure it was hilarious for many people but it was sweaty and gross,” Palmer recounts another one of his vivid Cal High memories. “Not as embarrassing, but a good moment,” he adds. 


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Audrey Dayton, Editor
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