Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Mr. Muth Bump

After 11 years at Franklin school, teaching and coaching Cross Country and Track, Mr. Muth will be moving on at the end of this school year. It truly is the end of an era and he will be missed. To quote another Franklin parent, "He is an icon at Franklin." That is how the parents and more importantly the kids of Franklin view this teacher.

Having younger kids who had not yet had Mr. Muth as a teacher but just a Coach, I only recently got to know him and realized the difference he has made to this school. My first taste of his influence came last year, a few months before my Go the Distance run. I had created a Facebook page for the event so I could update the parents, kids and community on the plans and progress we were making. After a month or so I had roughly 75 fans of the Go the Distance page and they were mostly parents and local runners. One day at school I was having a conversation with Mr. Muth and mentioned the Facebook page. Being an avid runner and huge supporter of Franklin School, he inquired about how to find it on facebook and how he could start following that page. Great teacher but not terribly advance at Facebook! So I got home and sent him a link to the page and walked him through the process. The following day I was happy to see he had in fact become a fan of the Go the Distance Facebook page and would be keeping up with things as they evolved. Then it happened! Over the next few days the number of fans more than doubled! Every one of the the new fans were Franklin kids or former student of his! I declared it the Mr. Muth Bump. Weeks prior, I had been around to all the classrooms and told the kids about what I was going to do and tried to get them behind it but the simple fact that Mr. Muth supported Go the Distance and became a fan led the entire student body to buy into it. Imagine the benefits in being a teacher that has that kind of influence and respect of their students. I firmly believe that a teacher's job goes beyond reading the words from a text book and in order to teach a kid you need to connect with that kid.

Since then I've had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Muth much better and each week I spend a few hours on the trails running and talking with him and his wife Jessica. (favorite and definitely the most comical run of the week....maybe ask him the lizard story sometime) Recently I listened as he struggled with the decision to take an opportunity teaching at another school. What stood out to me the most was the weight he put on the fact that he would be letting some kids down by going to a new school. The move was clearly a good opportunity for him but he was distraught with the fact he wouldn't be there for some of the kids coming into the upper grades and that made his decision very difficult. A perfect example of a teacher who is there for the kids first and therefore has earned their trust and respect.

As Franklin loses an icon, I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Muth for the years he has spent at Franklin, not only teaching and coaching, but also for leaving a lasting impression on the kids of what a teacher should be.