"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." -William A. Ward
The walls of his classroom are admirably cluttered with graduation photos and thank you letters from appreciative former students. For 14 years at Eastwood High School, anatomy teacher and cross country and track coach, Michael McLain has instilled a driving sense of motivation into his students and athletes, pushing them farther than many have been pushed before, and ultimately leading them to success.
Among his peers, and in his classes, McLain is revered for the enthusiasm he displays for his profession on a daily basis. Speech teacher Ruly Medrano, expressed the significant value McLain holds within the school.
"Personally, I know that teaching is not just a job for him. It's a passion," Medrano said. "He truly cares about his students in the classroom as much as the ones on the field. He's a great asset to this school."
Calculus teacher Michael Harmon, believes McLain's success is a direct product of his passion for teaching.
"He cares about whether his kids succeed or not," Harmon said. "He always puts in as much effort as he can to make sure the kids do the best they can."
It is this feat, teaching with passion, that lands Mclain a spot in the teaching Hall of Fame.
When registering for senior year classes, both counselors and veteran anatomy students express the same sentiment: "Take Mclain's Anatomy class. It's hard but it's worth it." Seemingly contradicting, the statement deems true in all aspects.
Senior Frankie Torres explains how McLain's challenging class is made feasible by his teaching style.
"The way he teaches is really different," Torres said. "He actually wants us to learn rather than just pass tests."
This sentiment of "old fashioned teaching" is echoed by all of his students, and is among the reasons he is appreciated as a teacher. Senior Ryan Rooslet explained the effective nature of McLain's methods.
"He's simply one of the best teachers in the school," Rooslet said. "He can give you something you know nothing about and make you learn the entire thing in a day."
When attempting to teach about every fiber in the human body, McLain provides a daily dose of humor and life lessons that mitigate the material and give students a reason to remember it. Senior Michelle Medrano explained what she's taken out of the class this year.
"He doesn't just teach about anatomy," Medrano said. "He teaches about a lot of things that you can use in the real world; from how to treat an injury to how to make a move on your crush."
Through all of this, McLain's students become eager to learn and "kick his gluteus maximus," as he says, on tests. Senior André Borrego expressed how much effort he has put into the class, for the sake of overcoming a challenge.
"We had our Osteogenesis test around December where we had to write two essays," Borrego said. "If you got an average of a 95, he promised to give you an Anatomy t- shirt. I had never studied so hard for a single test before. I learned so much."
The spirit of overcoming a challenge has carried his students from the beginning of the school year, and will continue to until the end. Senior Dianeliz Tirado explained how motivated she is to be successful in his class.
"He really prepares us for high school and beyond," Tirado said. "Even though he doesn't take it easy on us, and his class is pretty challenging, it's not hard to do good because you actually want to do good."
Ultimately, his students admit that they are thankful that they took the class because the benefits far outweigh the struggle, as explained by Borrego.
"Since freshman year, I have been wanting to take Anatomy," Borrego said. "Now that I'm in it, I look forward to going to class every day, and am excited for what I will learn that day. Because of his class, I have decided to pursue a career in the medical field."
The sentiments of gratitude are reciprocated, as McLain is grateful for teaching at what he calls, "the best school in El Paso."
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the teaching staff and students here," McLain said. "Receiving this award was a huge honor, but even just to be a member of the staff. . . I have a lot of pride in that."