Teacher of the Year: Christopher Peter

“Teachers are important as role models. They help to inspire learning, instill good values and build self confidence.”

Middle School American History, Geography, Civics and World History Teacher at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA

Nominated by Celeste Brooks:

“Mr. Peter is not your typical history teacher. When the school opened an Innovation Lab this past fall, he jumped in with his students.They used the various tools and technology available to make history come alive in a way that his students will remember forever. For example, they built chariots (no Lego wheels allowed) and held races in the ‘Hippodrome’ he created in the gym. Mr. Peter engages his students in discussions, listening and guiding them. He encourages them to speak up, and his lack of ego has made them comfortable enough to do so. Outside the classroom, he continues to listen to and care for his students, always making the time when someone needs him. He is also a phenomenal soccer coach, instilling not just skills into his players, but sportsmanship and motivation as well.”

Q&A with Christopher Peter

What originally got you interested in teaching?

I had a lot of great teachers that peaked my interest in the profession. My parents also helped guide me. My mother spent countless hours patiently doing homework with me, and my father constantly read, watched and discussed history with me. 

Why do you think teachers are important?

Teachers are important as role models. They help to inspire learning, instill good values and build self confidence. Teachers help to develop leadership skills, and assist in the overall character development and education of young people.

What is the single best piece of advice you can give parents of middle schoolers?

Be involved daily.

What’s your funniest teaching moment?

Splitting the back of my pants open. When I knelt down to do some filing during my fourth period, I thought I heard a slight rip. Fortunately for me, it was my planning period. So I was able to rush home and change pants, avoiding an embarrassing moment in front of the students. Turns out, I ripped my pants on the way to school that morning. The tear I heard during fourth period was just the last thread breaking loose. My pants had been split all morning long. Luckily, my underwear happened to be the color of my slacks that day.

Do you have any tried and trusted ideas or activities for motivating students?

Building positive relationships is key. I do this through positive interactions in the halls, on the athletic fields and in the cafeteria. I give a lot of positive feedback. I tell students constantly when things are going well, and I question the “how’s” and “why’s” when things are off track. 

How can parents and teachers work together to empower and engage children?

Communication is key. Parents should let teachers know how they have managed successful teaching moments with their children. Teachers must keep parents in the loop when things are going great and/or poorly.

What is the best thing about teaching in your area/school district?

I love the friendly and helpful environment at Randolph-Macon Academy.  The administration and teachers have been wonderful to work with. I am thankful for all the advice and help I’ve received over the years in building meaningful lesson plans, brainstorming fun ways to incorporate technology and building hands-on projects that resonate with the students. 

Finish this sentence: If I weren’t teaching, I’d be … coaching soccer. I previously owned and operated the Shenandoah Soccer Academy, and I have a great time teaching the sport.


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