If Evans could do one more thing, it would be to reach more students.
Martin Evans scans his class for project managers. Hopeful faces smile and hands shoot up to volunteer. The student’s whose names he called break in to smiles. The others will have their chance in the future.
“The project manager is one of the things we emphasize, and it’s really everywhere, in all of the classrooms,” Evans said. “We try to work on cooperative learning because it’s an important skill in life. You have to learn to work with people, whether you are in a leadership or follower role.”
His class of 22 sixth-grade students is the STEM Academy program at Wadsworth Elementary. Evans said project managers are applied to most class activities.
“I think they all like to have that leadership role,” Evans said. “This is a select group of students. They had to prove they were capable of coming in here and working hard on their regular academics, as well as giving some extra time and energy into other projects.
Evans knows what it’s like to be a Flagler student, he attended Bunnell Elementary, Belle Terre Middle School (now Buddy Taylor), and graduated from Flagler Palm Coast High School.
He was in pre-med with the possibility of becoming a medical researcher. He also considered becoming a lawyer, and enlisting in the military. He said he “fell into” teaching.
“I really didn’t think about being a teacher at all, but the bottom line is I have always wanted to help people,” Evans said. “I got a job working in the day care center on campus. Then I worked with prekindergarten, 4 and 5 year olds, and that’s when you really start teaching. I was looking forward to going to work and working with the kids.”
An appointment with his guidance counselor, and the realization that he could switch his major to teaching and graduate by the end of the summer, put him on the career path he was meant for, and in a school district he was familiar with.
“This is my 20th year teaching in Flagler,” Evans said. “I started at Indian Trails K-8. That was my longest stint, almost 10 years.”
He also taught at Belle Terre Elementary and returned to his own elementary school, Bunnell, as the assistant principal for a couple of years. He is in his fifth year at Wadsworth.
A part-time job with a technology company turned into a full time position, and Evans left teaching in Flagler for about a year and a half. During this time, instead of young students, he was showing teachers how he used technology in his classroom.
“Business slowed down when the iPads came out,” Evans said. “It was a good time to come home.”
Evans said being limited to just one class is a downfall and he would like to reach more students.
“ I have worked really hard the last three to five years creating an environment for this program. While I was STEM coach and a teacher on the Wheel (a program that rotated all of the students through the class), I was able to gather resources and knowledge needed to do all of this stuff, Evans said. “As a teacher I want to impact more students with the stem academy program we have here.”