It’s hard not to think that Robb Hedges is somehow emblematic of the kind of extreme but quiet dedication exhibited by many teachers. Hedges, a middle school science teacher, is the 2006 Teacher of Year in Carmel, Indiana—and he wakes up at 2 a.m. every day to deliver newspapers. Hedges says taking a second job was the only way he could continue teaching and support his family, which includes two sets of twins, ages 6 and 8. After the younger twins were born, Hedges gave in and took a job in finance for a couple of years. (“My first thought was that I’m going to end up sending four kids through college and paying for three weddings,” he recalls.) When he found out his sister-in-law had cancer, however, he had a realization that life was too short to ignore his true calling. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has a reputation as an engaging and passionate educator whom kids love. “He makes everything relevant to kids and makes science so interesting that kids who may not have had a propensity for science leave his room saying that was their favorite class,” said Steve Stephanoff, the human resources director for the Carmel district. True to form, Hedges said that winning teacher of the year was “humbling.” But he also acknowledged, “It makes getting up at 2 a.m. a lot easier.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.