Wes Struble: Well, my name is Wes Struble and I’ve taught at Logos school for 25 years and … But actually overall I’ve actually been teaching for 35. My first 10 years of teaching it took place down in southern Idaho and a couple of public schools and junior high and high school where I taught math and science. And then one year overseas I taught at a mission boarding school in Papua New Guinea teaching high school math and science. It was quite an experience there [00:00:30] and I’ll come back to that in a little bit because it plays a pivotal role in what brought me here. I have eight children. They’ve all been at Logos and I’m on my last one she’s a ninth grader this year. So three and a half more years and I’ve got them all through the gauntlet. It’s been a long haul. The first one started in 1993 and still we’re still going strong at 2017 [00:01:00] with this I have three more years left. The …
Speaker 2: How many years have you been in this classroom [crosstalk 00:01:10]
Wes Struble: Okay, so this classroom it’s changed over the years but I’ve been in this room for 25 years.
Speaker 2: [inaudible 00:01:17] sorry [crosstalk 00:01:18] back that up again.
Wes Struble: I’ve been in this room for about 25 years and we’ve expanded, we’ve redesigned, we’ve changed, bought new furniture but it’s been my home for the whole time I’ve been here [00:01:30] during this period. And hope to be able to hand it off to somebody or maybe even move to a new building.
Speaker 2: How many students do you think?
Wes Struble: So over the years if we look at an average graduating class I’ve probably had the opportunity and the blessing of having probably between 450 and 550 students pass through my classes and get to see [00:02:00] them periodically even now. So it’s been a good run.
Speaker 2: That’s great. You go on.
Wes Struble: Well as I mentioned I taught for a number of years in southern Idaho in the public school and it had its high points but it had more low points than high points. It became very very difficult. And at the time Idaho was still pretty conservative in his schooling so there were still very very difficult. [00:02:30] What was probably the pivotal point that changed my whole view on education was spending a year teaching at a mission boarding school in the Eastern Highlands Province in New Guinea. The school had about 200 students and the relationship between the teachers and the staff and the students was a very loving, a very caring one. And [00:03:00] the interaction, the time we spent together, people loving each other loving God really made a difference in the way I was able interact with the students. No hesitation talking about biblical topics and debating and trying to understand what God was saying.
When I return back to the states the previous school district I taught at in southern Idaho rehired me and so I started teaching there again. And it was quite a shock coming back into [00:03:30] a system that was totally hands off of anything spiritual. And so I felt very very bad. It was very very … I just felt very constrained and very bad about that. When my wife and I were in college together at the University of Idaho back in the late 1970s, we knew Tom Garfield, we knew Doug Wilson. We attended the church. We knew Larry Lucas they were some friends of ours at the time and we were all very young. [00:04:00] We left and then I came back a few years later in the early 1980s to attend graduate school at the U of I. At that time Logos had just been starting up and they needed a secondary math teacher. And I couldn’t do it at the time I was busy in school but my wife was available and so Sue, my wife wound up being the secondary math teacher for an entire semester and she had three students.
I believe it was two ninth graders and a 10th grader in the same classroom. [00:04:30] She taught one of the quests, one of the founding member’s children and I believe she taught some of the Busby’s children. And so there was a connection there that would have been probably about 1981 or 82. So it was really early on. That kind of stuck in the back of my mind, we had a great experience with that and enjoyed being involved. We left and then it was years later after my experience overseas that memory came back to me and I remembered Logos school and so I [00:05:00] remember calling Tom Garfield at the time and asking him “Hey do you have any openings in the math-science area?” And he said well not right at the moment but we’ll keep you in mind. And it was probably less than a year later that I got a call and then wound up coming up for an interview. And then I got hired in 1993. And so that’s when I started.
Speaker 2: That’s 25 years this year.
Wes Struble: It’ll be 25 years this year.
Speaker 2: So [croostalk 00:05:25]
Wes Struble: What I love about the states … Well, [00:05:30] there’s probably three things that I would consider that makes Logos special probably to me and to everyone else. And I would say that they’re all related but its different aspects of the same idea. And that is I would say first of all I love being here and teaching here and interacting with the teachers because I know that everybody loves God. And when I walk through the door in the morning, whatever staff member [00:06:00] I bump into I know that they’ve got a relationship with the father. And so I know that I can have a relationship with them and that’s the second thing. Not only does everybody here love God, we love one another because of that.
And so when I interact with the other staff members and with the students, we have a common bond because of our ties together in Christ. And to me, that is … to use an overused word that’s precious. It’s very very valuable to me. [00:06:30] It’s almost instant fellowship and it’s a glorious fellowship. And I would say that the third thing that comes out of that is that because everybody loves God because we love one another as a staff, we love the students. And that third love that goes to the students and the parents as we serve them is more valuable than any anything you can put on it. And I think those [00:07:00] are the three things that just make me want to come back every year.
Speaker 2: Do you still love teaching after 35 years?
Wes Struble: I love teaching. As I’ve gotten older it’s becoming more difficult for me because certain tasks become more arduous. But once I get up in front of the kids and I start teaching interacting with them I feel like I’m having a ball. I’m just having a ball. When I close the door okay … This will sound odd at first but it’ll make sense. I love final exams. And the kids or whoever listen to the saying what? [00:07:30] And I said … But there’s a reason why I love final exams. It’s not because I get to watch the kid sweat it out. It’s not because I look forward to grading for hours and hours. But here’s the deal, when I’m giving the final exam I’m thinking I just spent nine months with these kids.
I think of the chemistry class they came in in the beginning of September knowing almost nothing about chemistry then I spent nine months with them teaching them as much as I can out of my head and out of the book and out of everything else that I can [00:08:00] get that inculcated to them and then I give them that exam at the end. Had I given them that exam in the beginning nobody would have been able to do much. But I give them the exam at the end and I get it back and I grade it and I look at what they’ve learned in that nine-month period and I just thank God. I said I’ve done it and I’ve done it in a sense what I mean is by that is not that I’m in a hottie way but with God’s help we’ve gone through. And these kids have actually learned [00:08:30] chemistry and it’s a very very rewarding feeling.
So it’s the final exam but not because of what it does to the kids. The thrill it gives me after the fact when I’ve seen what they can do and it’s very very rewarding. That is a difficult thing to do in a single classroom where we don’t have different levels, we don’t have AP classes, we don’t have lower classes. Everybody’s thrown together and I think in the [00:09:00] long run I think it pays off to a certain extent because I believe that you get the current going and it drags people along. Specifically trying when I get the opportunity to challenge the upper level kids as much as I can on the side and then trying to spend as much possible with the lower level kids coaching them along, making sure that I recognize they’ve got a problem and I’m not here to pound them down but I’m here to help them get through that. I think is one of the things that helps them [00:09:30] and helps me also deal with it. The class sizes in Logos are I would say small compared to many other schools. And the small size is very conducive to getting to a very close relationship with the individual students. We get to know their strengths, we get to know their quirks, we get to know their weaknesses and not only can we help them academically but also with certain students have certain quirks [00:10:00] we can help them work through those quirks.
And hopefully when they graduate mature out of many of these different things that they have. But the size is really important. Having a 50 minute period and being able to spend time with individual students if they need the help is really crucial I think to getting the kids not only to feel comfortable with the subject but also to know that the teacher’s there I’m not alone. I can get the help when I need it. Well, we do have a very small class sizes and the school [00:10:30] is relatively small overall in its size. And so the limits we have are not only numbers of students but in what we have available to actually teach them. If I look around my classroom right now it’s a lot more … I’m thinking of the right word now, you cut that out. It has a lot more perks than it used to have.
But we’re still working on a fairly limited amount of equipment. Most of my equipment is old, [00:11:00] some of it’s outdated but we make do and with a lot of creativity and with a lot of jimmying this and making this work and adapting this we can come up with a lot of activities that can get the different aspects, the different concepts, the different relationships and science-
Speaker 2: True.
Wes Struble: Well I would love to be able to be here long enough. I don’t know how long it’s going to take but I would love to be here long enough to at least be one year at least in the new [00:11:30] facility just so I could say that I’ve taught there and have all the bells and whistles and be able to hand that off. And that’s honestly my concern now where I am in my career, my biggest concern and I’ve share this with Matt willing. My biggest concern is that when I close that door for the last time when I walk away that I know that I have people taking over the science department at that [00:12:00] time they’ll be multiple people with the school growing, that I’m handing off the baton to people who will take it to the next level and not just continue on with what I’m doing because I’ve been working here on a shoestring trying to accomplish as much as I can in teaching these kids science.
It would be glorious to be able to have a facility that we can actually take it to the next level and get these kids if not on the cutting edge at least moving [00:12:30] in that direction when they step into a university classroom or college they know their stuff and they can just grab that baton themselves and carry it on and they can be leaders in their different fields. I can give a story on that if I can.
Speaker 2: Okay, good.
Wes Struble: So a number of years ago, this is probably 15 years at least maybe 20 years ago. So this is a long time ago the administration decided to have a community [00:13:00] open house. And so what they did is they sent out flyers and they invited the community into the auditorium and they had staff members, teachers, current students and several alumni. And they each going to give a few minute presentation up on the stage. So we went through that. The administrator at the time spoke for a few minutes, then he introduced each student and then one of the students who was a previous student of mine, he was a current student at the U of I (silence)
Speaker 2: Is this okay?
Wes Struble: [00:15:00] When I think about when I came here one of the reasons I wanted to come was not only because of the experience I had before with the Christian school environment overseas and wanting to experience that again wanting to have that relationship with the students and the staff again. I would walk into the little tiny staff room we had at the mission-based school [00:15:30] I would walk in there and there would be other teachers and there, there’d be no arguing, there’d be no complaining, there’d be no saying any kind of (silence) [00:16:00] So here when I go into the staff room what I hear is [00:16:30] encouragement. I hear laughing but not laughing at, laughing with people. I see teachers who are talking about how they can help this student, how they can (silence)
Speaker 2: [00:17:00] Did you [crosstalk 00:17:09]
Wes Struble: I think of a young lady … Again many years ago I think of a young lady who came to the school I believe out of the public school system (silence) I’d [00:19:00] love to say my funny story.
Speaker 2: Yes, absolutely [crosstalk 00:19:13]
Wes Struble: Whether you want to use it or not [inaudible 00:19:14] So I was teaching in a chemistry lab here, we were having a lab and doing chemistry class and I was sitting on a stool over here to the side of the room and the students were working around the room on their lab. And one of the other classes [00:19:30] sent one of the students in to get some meter sticks to use in an activity they were doing, this from the senior class and a (silence)
Speaker 2: Have that.
Wes Struble: [00:20:30] The typical response you hear kind of joking me from teachers is why do I love teaching? And the typical response is June July and August. Well, [00:23:00] I would hope that if I lived another 50 years that if I was to come back and visit the school [00:23:30] that if I walked into any one of the classrooms specifically the science classroom that (silence)