Seventh grade social studies teacher Aaron Bible was voted Greeneville Middle School’s 2017 Teacher of the Year by his peers and administrators. Bible has taught at GMS since January of 2008, and is dedicated to serving his students.
Outside of the classroom, Bible enjoys playing music, watching University of Tennessee football and spending time outdoors. Bible and his wife, Ashley, who is also a teacher, live in Greeneville, Tennessee with their dog, Hank.
Q: Please give me a brief history of your time in the Greeneville City School System.
A: I had been teaching science at West Greene High School when a job teaching social studies at Greeneville Middle became available. I had done my student teaching here and loved the positive atmosphere, so I leaped at the opportunity to be a part of this team. I have been teaching and coaching [basketball] here ever since then, and this is where I hope to spend the rest of my career.
Q: Why did you decide to teach? Why middle school?
A: I was well on my why to law school in college when a science professor approached me and asked me to teach a computer class for senior citizens. I had never taught anything before and I hesitated to accept his proposal. After some consideration, I accepted his offer, and I immediately fell in love with helping people learn. I knew after helping seniors email their children that teaching was my calling in life. I chose the middle school age to teach because it was very close to my heart–very personal. My parents divorced when I was in the sixth grade, and they then proceeded to literally and figuratively to pull me through a traumatizing lake of drama. Indifference and misbehavior replaced my passion for learning in school. Now, I have the opportunity to save children from the same fate, and I can help students excel no matter their circumstances in life.
Q: What makes Greeneville Middle School special?
A: What makes GMS special is the students. I tell my students every single day that I am absolutely nothing without them. I would have no job, no future or no hope without the promise of their presence.
Q: Describe the atmosphere of your classroom.
A: I try to create an atmosphere of respect first and then try to make learning feel like magic. I feel like the imagination of the American teenager is being snuffed out by stuffy classrooms that weigh students down with rules and one worksheet after the other. Rules can be established when the lesson plan is so engaging that the students are more concerned about learning than misbehaving. I want students to run to my class with an eagerness to get in the door and learn.
Q: What’s your favorite part about being a teacher?
A: My favorite part about teaching is watching students learn. The satisfaction that comes from teaching someone a new skill fulfills my soul. I feel like I have a function or purpose in life, and that drives my passion to keep trying with each student that passes through my doors.
Q: Where do you find your greatest sense of accomplishment?
A: I find my greatest sense of accomplishment when students approach me years after they have left Greeneville Middle and tell me how much they loved being in my class. This lets me know that I had a major impact on the student’s life, and my hope is that they still have a love of learning new things. All of this is second only to having married my best friend and the most beautiful woman in the world [Ashley Bible].
Q: What is the most common thing your students/colleagues have praised you for?
A: I have regularly been complimented for my sense of humor and empathy for others. When I feel a sense of struggle or strife at work or in the classroom, I always try to understand how everyone else is looking at the situation.
Q: What does it mean to you to be voted Teacher of the Year?
A: Being voted Teacher of the Year tells me that my colleagues believe in me and that they believe in my methods. I also believe you have to be a good friend to everyone you work with from the café staff to the administration. We have to carry each other as a staff to deal with the pressures of every day middle school hustle. To impose this idea on a global scale, we all need each other.
I believe there is a far more important obligation for receiving this honor and that is setting a standard. I hope that the honor I have received will lend me more respect and trust among my colleagues and that they will now find my recommendations more agreeable.
Q: How do you intend to continue a legacy of excellence in your career?
A: I will continue to view myself as a servant to my students. It takes a huge amount of heart and soul to be a servant-leader, but I feel like I am more effective as an educator in this role. Educators have to see past their classrooms and see the entire world. We need to give students more choices and relieve the feeling that they are forced into schools and learning; no one wants to be forced to do anything. If we can’t change this sentiment among students in our country, they will ultimately resent our educational establishments and then ultimately they will hate learning. I am going to change this.