Being in front of the classroom is second nature to Brad Goetz. He’s been teaching 5th grade at Kincaid Elementary School for the past 17 years.

“I’m kind of an old school teacher in a way that I really want the kids to take personal responsibility,” Goetz said.

Students are learning about western expansion in U.S. history and partial quotients in math; subjects they work hard at to understand.

“They make such great gains over the school year and I don’t think they even realize how much they do learn in a year,” Goetz added. “This was kind of a frustrating math lesson… but you know they’ll joke about it and be ok with it.”

It’s at this age, Goetz says, you can joke with the students and they understand and even chime in with their own jokes.

“We do try to have a lot of fun in here because I think you learn better when you’re having a good time,” Goetz said. “When you’re enjoying life, laughing and giggling it can make it a little bit easier.”

Goetz’s goal is for his students to have a sense of accomplishment when they end the school year.

“Knowing they’re strong students, they very well can handle just about anything if they’re willing to try everything,” he said.

Goetz moved to Alaska from Washington State and has spent previous summers commercial fishing. He most recently has been helping with beluga research.

If you have an educator you would like to nominate for teacher of the week, click here.