THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND
After teaching for over three decades, Mr. Fresco is retiring.
February 25, 2019
He can be found on campus well before 7:00 am and well after 2:40 pm daily. His door is always open to any and every student on campus, even if it just for a simple “Hello, Mr. Fresco.” His teaching career was not made from only teaching at Suncoast High School, he was at a few other schools prior, too. At each school he shared experiences and knowledge with students.
“I wanted to be a part of the new cutting-edge and innovating program [at Suncoast High School],” said Fresco. Thus, Fresco took the leap and dove into a new environment with a program that had not been a part of any other school in Palm Beach County. Having the certification of Social Science Composite allowed Fresco to teach all existing social studies classes available, which allowed him to gain broader perspectives across the board in the subject of Social Studies and Theory of Knowledge.
Fresco is infamously known for teaching the International Baccalaureate course called TOK, and claims that, “I did not choose TOK, TOK chose me.” TOK is a required IB course that teaches students the way in which knowledge is created and how it can be shared and interpreted.
Additionally, there are just certain aspects about Fresco that make him loved and adored by many as a teacher and as a person. Fresco’s friendly and happy personality is contagious to practically everyone that is near him. Due to Fresco’s upbeat and cheerful personality, it is easy for him to make learning fun and engaging. However, for most teachers, it is hard to establish a teaching method that really works.
Through “Trial and error, experience, and [by remembering] what works, you certainly know what doesn’t work,” Fresco said about the way he established his teaching style to accommodate all of his students, and the way he learned to make learning genuinely fun for everyone.
Teaching for over three decades can become repetitive and somewhat mundane. For some teachers, it becomes difficult to keep a fun and interesting learning environment; however, Fresco has learned ways to keep learning fun and unique for all individuals through experience.
“My students are my own kids. My son and my daughter went to Suncoast and I got a chance to see both sides of it: from the parent side, student side and teacher side,” Fresco said. This trifecta is why he cares about his students the way he does. Fresco has an interesting perspective of how students go through Suncoast, and this is why he donates so much time and effort to his students and why he cares so much about the way he delivers information.
Teachers work hard to establish a relationship with their students to help them realize that they can trust their educator to provide the students with accurate information, but to let students be aware of the fact that they can seek help from those educators. While it is easy to establish a basic opinion about an educator or a student, it is imperative to know that any relationship that is established had work behind it. The truth is, teachers actually do want their students to succeed and that is why it is important to establish and maintain good relationships.
“What I try to demonstrate [is that] this class and learning specifically should be fun, and it is something you should want to do because that is what you want to do, because [learning] is what makes things exciting,” Fresco said. This is probably a similar view of many teachers, as it should be up to the students to want to learn. In some cases, not all subjects that are taught appeal to all students. Thus, it becomes a part of the educators job to engage students, and Fresco does that through various resources. He uses techniques such as spontaneous yelling, the throwback songs in his PowerPoint or letting students reach their own conclusions through their own methods of learning.
“It’s okay not to know things, and it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to act foolish,” Fresco said. This is extremely important to remember when in the classroom setting as students seeing their teacher acting foolish will encourage students to feel as though there should be nothing to hide, as everyone is learning the same concepts and ideas.
Once his retirement begins, Fresco said the first thing he plans to do is “learn what it’s like to be retired.” He plans to see more of his family and improve on his golf game. While it is easier for those older in age to be more carefree, there are a couple of life lessons that can be taken from Fresco himself. It is completely fine to act foolish and make mistakes wherever one is, because that is where most of the learning is going to come from: in the places least expected.