Durant Educator Picked as “My Favorite Teacher”

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DURANT, Iowa - "What are we thinking here?"

That's a question students in Durant Middle School have heard Mr. Reynolds ask for 31 years.

For more than three decades, this seventh and eighth grade teacher has asked questions about the world these students live in but know so little about.

But although he doesn't tire of the job he's retiring this Spring.

"I love the classroom."

That's why eighth grader Beth Rausch knew she had to act now.

She wrote to News 8's "My Favorite Teacher" contest to nominate Dave Reynolds.  Last year's five winners picked him and four other nominated teachers as the winner.

It was a surprise to Mr. Reynolds, but he's not surprised it came from a student like Beth.

"Beth has been a great student to have," he told us after getting the award.

"I mean, she's overcome some obstacles with her vision and things."

Beth has been visually impaired since birth.  But she has seen Mr. Reynolds' commitment to his students and nominated him as her favorite teacher.

"I believe Mr. Reynolds should receive the 'Favorite Teacher' award because he deserves it," she wrote.

"He is trustworthy, fun, and understanding."

Dave Reynolds is teaching these seventh graders about the geography in East Asia, but his lessons easily strike us here at home.

"An economic slowdown is what?" he asked the class during a lesson on China and Japan..

By summer, he plans to give up his lesson plans, retire, and try something new.

"This is a good community," he said.

"The people are great, the staff has been great to work with, the administrators I've had over the years has been excellent and obviously the students - the kids have been great."

But Beth would say it's Mr. Reynolds whose been great.   And she says his retirement will leave a void at Durant Middle School.

"I was just kinda excited to have him so I feel kinda bad for the 5th and 6th graders cause they don't get to have him so I feel kinda bad for the fifth and sixth graders 'cause they don't get to have him."

Beth has made her mark with writings other than her nomination entry in the "My Favorite Teacher" contest.   She's now in Washington, DC and is being honored for a diffferent essay she's written.

Because her "My Favorite Teacher" nomination was selected, Beth is getting a $200 Visa check card from Black Hawk Bank and Trust.  Mr. Reynolds gets a $25 gift certificate to "Teacher's Aide" from Community Health Care, and the class is getting So-Be Life Water.