Polk Anticipates His Second Year Teaching


Todd Polk

Second-year teacher at Valley, Todd Polk, enjoys connecting with his students. He presents three words to his class each day, to find the value they connect with most for that day.

Sarah Mendoza, Reporter

Physics and chemistry teacher Todd Polk works with sophomores, juniors, and seniors every day.

Polk likes that each student has their own stories and various perspectives. He appreciates seeing both the academic skills of his students and his teaching improve. It motivates him to work harder, and he enjoys getting to know students and working alongside them.

“I get a lot of inspiration for my lessons from other teachers as well as from various sources of media that I enjoy,” Polk said. “I love listening to history and science podcasts, so sometimes I’ll share those resources with my students to help them learn new concepts.”

Polk’s motivation is his students. Knowing that he has students waiting for him when he gets on campus is what keeps him pushing through the tough times. Polk began his first year teaching in fall of 2020 at Valley.

“Valley, as a school, is diverse to say the least,” Polk said. “With so many different programs like MSTEM, IB, and AOHT, there is something for everyone. There are also various types of clubs and organizations to choose from as well. As someone who loves exploring different cultures and experiences, I like that Valley offers a lot of opportunities.”

Polk learned that being a teacher means understanding he can’t do it all. Since this is his second year teaching right after hybrid and distance learning, he attempts to do his best as a teacher in the new experience of full time in-person learning. His students enjoy his class because everyone feels very comfortable and welcome to express themselves.

“Mr. Polk had many interests that he shared with me as well as a bunch of other classmates of mine, and because of this relatability between all of us,” D’veralyn Milovale said. “Mr. Polk found a way to connect us all in a way where we’re all familiar with each other.”

Polk helps his students by working one on one and making sure they understand their assignments. Furthermore, the students like that Polk doesn’t drag out the lesson and gets straight to the point. The students enjoy class discussions where everyone shares their unique own thoughts.

“I enjoyed his class since I always felt like I had a place to share my knowledge and learn from others as well,” Jetta Leatherwood said.

Polk always found a way to make his lessons interesting and enjoyable. Polk likes connecting with his students, whether that is saying hello to them or them telling him how their weekend went.

“The act of getting better at my job is a source of satisfaction for me,” Polk said. “It helps when students are also excited, since it allows all of us to have more fun.”

The students appreciate that Polk, in the beginning of class, would present three words, “Respect, Patience, and Community.” He lets the students choose individually on which they needed the most, and whichever is the most mentioned would become the value of the day.

“I like his class a lot,” Milovale said. “He seemed passionate about science and teaching and that pushed me to do my best. He was very caring for our well-being much more than our grades.”