Christina Castrucci, a 24-year-old liberal arts major at UC’s Raymond Walters College, says she has never met a teacher who loved his job more than her high school English teacher, Mr. Ted Shaw. He is one of three area K-12 educators and one of two Deer Park High School teachers who will receive special honors from a UC student on Dec. 11.
|Christina Castrucci and Ted Shaw|
He says the former university president taught math at UC, but Shaw’s calling was teaching high school English. His former student, Christina, says she still keeps a Robert Frost poem on her desk that she learned from Mr. Shaw, “The Road Not Taken.”
“We had to memorize and recite the poem, and it was the first time I had ever heard it,” she recalls. “I grew up feeling like I was different than a lot of people – I kind of did my own thing – and by reading that poem, I felt like it was okay to go down that path and be my own person. Ask anyone from Deer Park High School, and I bet they can say at least one line from that poem.”
“Before they leave high school, I think it’s one of the best poems to crystallize what being a senior is really like, looking at college stretching ahead,” he says.
Shaw says there’s a very simple sign in his classroom. It reads, “Think.”
“It doesn’t mean, ‘think like me,’ or ‘think like anybody else,’ it asks them to be open,” he says. “The student who comes to class with an open-minded curiosity makes it so much more fun – it allows for a collaboration of learners that makes the aspect of ‘work’ disappear,” he says.
Shaw says both he and his colleague, Doug Miller, are “incredibly honored” with the news of the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award. “I’m incredibly humbled by it and very happy. It is such an honor to have this recognition,” he says.
This December marks the sixth year that UC has presented the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards to recognize the lifelong inspiration of K-12 educators.