If you are ever at a Starbucks in Grapevine or Colleyville, be on the lookout as you may see GCISD Secondary Teacher of the Year Heath Hamrick working on his laptop dressed in a knight’s suit.
It all started 10 years ago when Hamrick began collecting rapiers, a small sword featuring a narrow blade that was used in the 16th and 17th Centuries. His collection has grown each year and, as a history teacher at GCISD’s iUniversity Prep virtual academy, Hamrick figured this approach would be more exciting for his students than seeing him wearing a traditional suit and tie.
“I love that students can interact with various pieces of history,” Hamrick said. “Not only are they able to see how it moves but they can wear it themselves.”
This exciting teaching method is always a winner for Hamrick as it draws attention from the crowd, delights his students and is comparable to being a walking, talking, clunking iUniversity Prep billboard.
“Oddly enough, the attention always comes after I pull out the laptop and start tutoring in those situations,” Hamrick said. “I suppose if a knight or Revolution-era soldier walks into a Starbucks, no one cares; but a knight pulls out a laptop and startsteaching, now that gets a second look.”
Hamrick, an educator for 10 years, joined GCISD this past school year and teaches social studies for grades 6-12 at iUniversity Prep: A GCISD Virtual Academy. A graduate of Trinity University with a degree in political science, Hamrick teaches world, Texas and U.S. history as well as government, and he enjoys different aspects of each course.
“World History has all the diversity you could ever want,” Hamrick said. “Texas and U.S. History have immediate relevance to our lives, and provide great trivia knowledge in case you ever are a contestant on Jeopardy or are stuck on long, quiet drives! And Government is about as philosophical as a high school class gets.”
In addition to being a history buff, Hamrick’s hobbies include movie watching, with “Casablanca” being one of his favorites. He admits his film collection, along with his book collection, are much larger than they should be. Hamrick also spends time creating materials ranging from videos to entire textbooks to provide engaging and innovate learning opportunities for his students.
Because of the non-traditional learning structure of iUniversity Prep, Hamrick said he enjoys helping students from across the state get a high-quality GCISD education and make connections with their learning no matter their individual schedules, responsibilities, challenges or opportunities. And he is proud to be a part of a virtual academy that is leading the path toward the future of education.
“The idea of being able to help students and engage in their lives in a new and exciting way has me ready to jump into this upcoming year with fresh ideas,” Hamrick said. To find out more about GCISD’s virtual academy, visit us online at www.iuniversityprep.org or call 817-305-4895.