Mowat Middle School Math Teacher Wins Golden Apple

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Panama City - This week's Golden Apple winner is a math teacher at Mowat Middle school. Mr. Clay Bazzel was nominated by two students, one of them, Maya Porter, writes: "Mr. Bazzel creates a calm and fun learning environment. He helps each child individually comprehend what we are learning. Mr. Bazzel also encourages us to never say that we can't do something or that we will never understand it. He is a role model for all teachers and students."

Mr. Bazzel's path to the classroom was a unique one. "I was a Peace Corp. volunteer. I lived in Africa, I was teaching there and it's a good feeling being able to help others in need and help them have a better life," said Mr. Bazzel. Trained as a chemical engineer, he went to Tanzania expecting to help provide clean water. He was told what they really needed was teachers. When he came back to Bay County, he found that was true here as well. "I love helping students and helping them prepare for life. Hopefully I give them life skills. The math that I teach, hopefully they will be able to use it in their future," said Mr. Bazzel.

"He holds himself up to a very high standard, he has very high morals. He has very high expectations for his kids, he wants his kids to be better than they want to be for themselves," said Mowat Principal Ed Sheffield.

Not one to raise his voice, Mr. Bazzel's teaching style is one of quiet effectiveness, something his students appreciate. "The classroom in here, he keeps it controlled because the students in here aren't very controlled but he makes sure it stays controlled so we can learn and have fun while we are doing it. He makes sure every student knows specifically what we are learning," said Maya.

"The most important thing is to give the students feedback," said Mr. Bazzel. "They do work and you come by and check it and you direct them again and give them some more feedback, so it's very student interactive," he explained. "He is a really good teacher, he is challenging, but it's for our best and I always have fun learning math," said student Katelyn Smith, who also nominated Mr. Bazzel.

Congratulations to Mr. Bazzel, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher.